Ukrainian capital mostly normal beyond immediate protest zone

Ukrainian capital mostly normal beyond immediate protest zone
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Just 40 meters from the Maidan barricades, life goes on more or less normally for Olga at her kiosk.

Her vending stand is one of five open near the site of the recent battles in Independence Square, on Kyiv’s main Khreschatik Street. Bigger stores and malls have been closed.

But Olga said she feels safe here and sympathises with the protesters: “There are more people buying coffee and tea. They’re fighting but nobody can say how it will turn out.”

A bit further away – seven blocks – from Maidan, activity in Kyiv goes on pretty much the same as before the clashes. Shops and cafes are open for business.

Lunch customer Oksana, who runs a jewellery store in the neighbourhood, said: “All my colleagues have been coming to work even though I gave them permission not to. I’m the boss. I haven’t been upset by anything except knowing what is happening in my country. I never thought any government would act like that!”

People on the streets well away from Maidan said they were shocked by Tuesday’s violence. But they also said they feel safe and even want to come to the Maidan district more than they did before.

One elderly Kievan said: “I feel safe here. Even when I’m in Maidan, I feel safe. There are intelligent people there!”

Kyiv correspondent Maria Korenyuk said: “Life away from the barricades is business as usual, except that the Kyiv underground has been closed for two days now. Citizens have been having trouble getting to work and getting home. The official reason given for the closed subway is a terrorism threat. But the protesters say the intention is to prevent people from other Kiev neighbourhoods from coming to Maidan and joining the protesters.”