Unrest in Ukraine as opposition leaders give ultimatum to President

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Unrest in Ukraine as opposition leaders give ultimatum to President

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The streets of Kyiv burned overnight as protesters set fire to hundreds of car tyres, in an effort to keep riot police away from their barricades.

Nearby, a blaze raged in a six-storey house with at least two people trapped inside, who managed to escape. Protesters blamed riot police for starting the fire. But those on the ground said it could also could have been sparked by one of the Molotov cocktails or stun grenades flying around.

Thousands more Ukranians had come out to demonstrate after Wednesday’s tragic events when two protesters were found shot dead.

Ukrainian Radio also reported the death of a third activist whose body was found in a forest showing signs of torture.

A makeshift hospital was set up close to Hrushevskoho Street, the scene of many of the clashes, treating dozens of people.

The most common injures were wounds caused by plastic bullets and stun grenades exploding.

One man who had been wounded described what happened to him: “I’m a journalist, I was filming the events when a grenade burst right next to my right leg. They (riot police) were throwing grenades directly into the crowd of people.”

Many protesters say they do not believe the conflict will be solved peacefully, and are preparing themselves for a final confrontation with police.

One activist told euronews: “We’re waiting for the dispersal. The barricades are the symbol of what we are expecting. If these barricades save even one life, they’re worth it.”

The Ukrainian opposition has given President Yanukovych until the end of Thursday to state whether he is ready to meet any of the protesters demands.

Euronews correspondent Maria Korenyuk in Kyiv said: “The confrontation has continued throughout the night. But there was no outright conflict. While protesters expect the rally to be dispersed by riot police, the Ukrainian opposition still hopes to solve the problem peacefully. Opposition leaders say they are going to continue negotiations with the authorities. They are demanding at the very least an end to the anti-protest laws and the resignation of the cabinet, and at most snap presidential elections.”