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Anti-government protesters walk amid debris and flames near the perimeter of Independence Square, known as Maidan, on February 19, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images) ()

Bloody Protests Escalate In Ukraine As Europe Ponders Sanctions

Feb 19, 2014 (Here & Now / WBUR-FM)

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A defiant Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych today called on opposition leaders to draw a boundary between themselves and those he’s calling radical forces, saying they crossed a line by calling people to arms.

This, as fires burned in Kiev’s central square and police fired stun guns to push back angry demonstrators. The death toll has risen to at least 25, with hundreds more injured, and renewed fears of an all-out civil war.

Yanukovych’s warnings are falling largely on deaf ears as angry protesters stand their ground, defending the square with fire bombs and rocks.

The situation has been percolating for nearly three months, starting when Yanukovych abandoned a deal with the European Union in exchange for a $15 billion bailout from Russia.

The E.U. has scheduled an emergency meeting for tomorrow, and sanctions are likely to follow.

The BBC’s Pavel Bandakov joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with the latest and Jeremy Hobson speaks with Olga Bielkova, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament from the opposition UDAR party.


  • Pavel Bandakov, correspondent for the BBC. He tweets @bandakov.
  • Olga Bielkova, member of the Ukrainian Parliament from the opposition party UDAR, the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance For Freedom.
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