Dozens dead on Ukraine's deadliest day

2014-02-21 09:06
The body of a protestor is stretchered by demonstrators shortly after he died during clashes with riot police in central Kiev. (Bulent Kilic, AFP)

The body of a protestor is stretchered by demonstrators shortly after he died during clashes with riot police in central Kiev. (Bulent Kilic, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kiev - More than 60 protesters were shot dead on Thursday in the deadliest day of anti-government protests in Ukraine, opposition medics said as rival sides traded accusations of sniper attacks and EU ministers tried to broker an end to the crisis.

The deaths came as the European Union agreed to impose sanctions on Ukrainians with "blood on their hands", though it left the door open to a political deal by naming no names.

The United States threatened to follow suit.

Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yanukovych appeared ready to concede to one of the protesters' main demands by suggesting to visiting EU dignitaries that he may be ready to hold early elections.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, spoke to Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia - who have bickered openly over the crisis, which has pitted the ex-Soviet country's future between Russia and the West - by telephone.

All three called for a halt to the bloodshed that has escalated since Tuesday.

Opposition medics said more than 60 protesters had been shot dead by police on Thursday alone. Kiev authorities, for their part, put the death toll from three days of violence at 75.

'No deal yet'

Events on the ground gave apparent impetus to political discussion, with some hope that Ukraine's leaders were about to make concessions on the key issue of early elections.

"Among other things it was agreed with Yanukovych that there was a willingness to hold early elections this year - both presidential and parliamentary," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters after a meeting with the Ukrainian leader in Kiev that included Warsaw's top diplomat and the foreign ministers of Germany and France.

But Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko quickly cautioned after his own subsequent meeting with the same EU troika that there was "no deal yet".

Marcin Wojciechowski, spokesperson for Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, wrote on his Twitter account overnight on Thursday that "negotiations with President Yanukovych are still underway".

EU sanctions

The shocking scale of bloodshed in a strategic nation that serves as a brittle diplomatic bridge between Russia and the West prompted EU officials to slap travel bans against Ukrainians responsible for ordering the use of force.

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said an agreement was also reached at an emergency EU meeting in Brussels to impose asset freezes on those with "blood on their hands".

The measures mark a U-turn for Brussels diplomats, who until Monday had resisted Ukrainian opposition demands for sanctions.

Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday warned Yanukovych that the United States was ready to impose sanctions on officials guilty of ordering troops to fire on protesters.

Washington has already put 20 top Ukrainian officials on a visa blacklist and threatened further sanctions, which could include asset freezes.

Russia blasted the sanctions as "bullying", and said President Putin was sending a representative to Kiev to act as a mediator in talks with the opposition.

Ukraine's crisis has evolved into a broader anti-government movement that initially opposed Yanukovych's spurning of an historic EU trade deal in favour of a $15bn bailout from Russia.

The unrest has also swept through the pro-Western west of the country, and parts of its more Russified east - exposing the deep historical fault lines between the two.

Yanukovych had appeared determined on Wednesday to end the crisis by force after the security services announced plans to launch a sweeping "anti-terror" operation.

He also sacked the army's top general - a powerful figure lauded by the opposition for refusing to back the use of force against protestors.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius left Kiev on Thursday for Beijing, according to journalists travelling with him.

Read more on:    eu  |  vladimir putin  |  vitali klitschko  |  angela merkel  |  viktor yanukovych  |  barack obama  |  ukraine  |  ukraine protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Beauty
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.