Ukrainian riot police have advanced onto a central Kiev square occupied by protesters, after at least 14 people died in the worst day of violence since demonstrations erupted against president Viktor Yanukovich 12 weeks ago, the Irish Times website reports today (February 18, 2014).
Protesters on Independence Square responded with petrol bombs, fireworks, and stones, as police moved slowly forward, hours after the state security service had set a deadline for the demonstrators to end disorder or face "tough measures."
The riot police moved in hours after Moscow gave Ukraine $2 billion in aid which it had been holding back to demand decisive action to crush the protests.
Nationwide protests against Yanukovich erupted in November after he bowed to Russian pressure and pulled out of a planned far-reaching agreement with the European Union (EU), deciding instead at the last minute to accept a Kremlin bailout for the heavily indebted Ukrainian economy. Most Ukrainians are opposed to such close ties with Russia as they believe that Russia may have plans to control Ukraine, as it did shortly after World War II until 1991 when Ukraine was nothing more than a Russian satellite.