There were shocking scenes in the heart of Kyiv on Thursday as live automatic gun fire rang around the Ukranian capital.
Anti-government protests ran the gauntlet from snipers during an intense battle to retake the city’s Independence Square.
Protected by only makeshift shields, scores of demonstrators were either killed or wounded in the advance.
Armed with combat weapons footage appeared to show police opening fire near parliament, though the authorities also claimed they had come under fire from live ammunition.
Despite the carnage, by the end of Thursday morning, protesters had regained large parts of the city which had been lost to them earlier in the week.
Dozens of police officers were also taken prisoner. Their whereabouts remains unclear but 67 officers are still reportedly being held captive somewhere in the city.
The deadly violence saw bodies piled up across the capital – several were carried back to Independence Square.
Я вмираю— Olesya Zhukovskaya (@OlesyaZhukovska) 20 Février 2014
According to reports, one young medic who had posted on social media that she was dying after being shot by a sniper, was reportedly still alive and fighting for her life after going under emergency surgery.
Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych has blamed the opposition for resuming the violence despite the EU and US appearing to lay responsibility for the turmoil squarely at the government’s door.