Protesters, government in Ukraine call truce after clashes leave at least 26 dead
By End the Lie
The Ukrainian government said that they reached a truce agreement with leaders of the opposition as clashes left at least 26 people dead, including 10 police officers.
This comes after the Ukrainian security services said that rioters seized over 1,500 guns and 100,000 bullets over a 24-hour period.
The Guardian called the preceding events “the saddest, grimmest 36 hours in the young country’s history,” referring to the deadly clashes in Kiev’s Independence Square.
The square was left in smoldering ruins by Wednesday afternoon with interior ministry troops, special security forces and police in full body armor occupying the space, according to the Guardian.
Reports state that the truce announced Wednesday may mean an end to the clashes, though some analysts say that it might actually get worse.
The agreement was publicized on the website of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, though many of the details remain unclear.
“It may become absolutely more unstable, It may become absolutely more unstable,” said Ben Tonra, head of the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin in Ireland. “The conflict in a specific square has extended to other regions.”
Tonra said to USA Today that protesters have attacked many public facilities, including civic offices, police stations and army barracks.
“This is the scenario of a spiraling descent into more widespread civil conflict,” he said.
European leaders have placed the blame for the escalating situation squarely on the Ukrainian government.
“Ultimate responsibility for deaths and violence is with President Yanukovich — he has blood on his hands,” Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Twitter.
Bildt also speculated on the firing of the commissioner of the Ukrainian army:
Why does President Yanukovich suddenly fire the Commander of the Ukraine Army? Reason clearly related to present crisis. Ominous sign.
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 19, 2014
Several Western diplomats, including officials U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, are slated to visit Kiev on Wednesday in an attempt to open up dialogue between the two sides.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, also said she would attempt to coordinate efforts between Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Protesters say that Putin has been interfering in Ukrainian democracy and pushing Yanukovych to avoid getting closer to the European Union.
Obama also spoke out against the recent events, saying that there will “be consequences if people step over the line.”
“And that includes making sure that the Ukrainian military does not step in to what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians,” Obama said.
The U.S. has already taken steps to impose sanctions on the Ukrainian government, according to MSNBC.
The State Department has restricted the visas of 20 Ukrainian officials reportedly involved in the crackdown, according to an unnamed senior U.S. official.
If the truce holds up, the sanctions may be reversed, according to the official, though sanctions may also be increased if Yanukovych reneges.
There is a great deal of speculation about the potential of this truce falling apart, but as of now one can only wait and see.
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