Ukraine Truce Shattered And Chaos Escalates, 70 Police Hostages Reportedly Taken By Protesters
Oh, no. The tentative truce between the Ukrainian government and citizen protesters in the country's capital has been shattered, and up to 100 people have been killed in Kiev since Thursday morning, according to CNN. The truce between Ukraine's president and protesters crumbled just hours after President Viktor Yanukovych announced an agreement Wednesday that claimed to end the bloodshed plaguing Kiev's Independence Square since Tuesday. On a statement on their official website Thursday, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry wrote that up to 70 police had been captured by Kiev protesters.
The Ukrainian government has publicly blamed protestors for breaking the truce, saying that demonstrators had used negotiation time to supply more protesters with weapons, and mobilize. On Tuesday, protests ongoing in Kiev since December turned drastically violent, charring buildings at the city's central square and leaving dozens dead. Yanukovych declared a truce Wednesday and indicated the beginnings of negotiations, "aimed at cessation of bloodshed and stabilization of the situation in the country for the sake of civil peace."
The total death toll rose sharply Thursday after demonstrators hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at riot police, sparking more brutality. Each side accused the other of firing, with government snipers reportedly shooting at protestors, and police saying 20 officers were wounded by protesters' gunfire.
A spokeswoman for the Ukrainian government says the parliament building was evacuated Thursday in fear of protestors storming it. President Yanukovych changed the location of a meeting with foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland, citing security concerns.
The protests first took shape in November, but have largely been non-violent until this week. Protests were arranged by opposition groups in vehement disagreement with Ukraine's growing relationship with Russia. President Barack Obama recently criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's role in the crisis, and France threatened sanctions over the deadly attacks.
Some members of Ukraine's Olympic team decided to leave the Sochi Winter Games Thursday as a result of the violence back home. Athletes and team officials held a moment of silence at the Olympic village for the victims, and put black mourning bands on the Ukrainian flags hanging from the balconies of their apartments. The country's National Olympic Committee called for an appeal for "peace and mutual understanding, to find a positive way forward for Ukraine."