Kiev crisis: Ukrainian voices
- 19 February 2014
- From the section Europe
Ukrainian police and anti-government protesters in Kiev are involved in bloody clashes at the protest camp on Independence Square.
The death toll has risen as a result of the confrontations, with loss of life among police officers and protesters in the capital.
With tensions still high and the city unstable, Ukrainians provide their thoughts on the crisis.
I'm an unemployed computer programmer who has visited Independence Square several times to bring medicine and food supplies.
The most calm and peaceful part of the Ukrainian population, the students and doctors have turned out to protest, because they can't stand it anymore, they have small salaries and no protection.
They also have to pay for a lot of things they don't get, like security, roads, and medical attention.
And all this, when the president and his politicians live in villas that EU political representatives would be jealous of. This is sad, very sad.
At least 30 people have already died in the conflict, many of them were young. How many more have to be killed so these tyrants stop?
I'm going to be taking more supplies to the Maidan shortly. The inside of St Michael's Cathedral now doesn't look like a church and is being used for storage, it's full of food and medical supplies. There's not much room in there anymore.
I've spoken to a medic who has told me about the range of injuries, he's seen arms torn off and cracked ribcages; these injuries aren't being caused by rubber bullets. He also says there are not enough surgeons.
Borys, lawyer in Kiev
It is very sad what is happening in Kiev. What is apparent is that the police and government are openly using criminals against the people.
There are hundreds of criminals in the centre of Kiev, they've killed journalists and are carrying weapons.
It is unbelievable; people are in need of medical aid and food. Ordinary people are ready to help with food and medication, they drive to any protest site to help out. The problem is that they are being stopped by police.
Healthcare professionals and fire fighters are happy to help people who have been injured in the protests but they are then being forced to provide information on patients that need treatment, this then leads to arrests and means it's difficult for anyone to visit hospitals.
I've spoken to people who say they just happen to be bystanders at particular sites and are being targeted.
I have a client who was unlucky, he wasn't involved in the protests but was in the wrong place at the wrong time, there's no real evidence against him but he could face 15 years in prison.
My reaction is very clear, all that is happening in Kiev is a coup, aiming to bring to power some people.
It has nothing to do with democracy. As I see somebody is organising and sponsoring the rioters quite well to destabilise the situation in the country.
I cannot say that Mr Yanukovych is perfect, he is far from perfect, but he is the legally elected President. To make the situation worse this is supported by many Western countries as they see this as a battle field with Russia.
It is difficult to predict the outcome but the situation will not be good. I think the Maidan will be defeated, but the rioters will move to their local places, mainly to western regions of Ukraine and start guerrilla war against the central government and a period of long-term instability will start.
I hope my predictions are wrong, this is a sad scenario but it is possible after the bloodshed there is little hope for peaceful solution.
Even if this coup is successful many people will not support it.
This is not a fight between the regime of Mr Yanukovych and the people of Ukraine, it is a fight between two groups of Ukrainians with different ways of thinking and histories.
I have been at the rallies and the situation is still pretty tense.
On previous days the police have been using water cannons on protesters in the Maidan, they seem to be in constant use. I have also seen stun grenades used sporadically, along with grenades that explode with flames. These ones burst cause burns to hands and faces.
It's been mostly quiet during the day but we know the police will exploit any weaknesses if the numbers of protesters weren't there.
I'm expecting attacks overnight to try to clear the square, but there appears to be three times the amount of people staying in the Maidan. I can't see that they'd be moved easily unless artillery was used.
There are now women and elderly people joining the protests, not just men. They're not activists or terrorists they are just armed with sticks, I haven't seen a single gun.
There are still people managing to get in to Independence Square, Ukrainians are now coming from around the country to join us. I will go back to protest once I've had a rest and some food.
The numbers of people taking part is the strength of this protest.