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Anti-government protest in downtown Kiev escalates

February 25, 2015, 16:46 UTC+3 KIEV
Protesters are throwing Molotov cocktails at the building of the Prosecutor-General’s Office
1 pages in this article
A protester with a Molotov cocktail in Kiev (archive)

A protester with a Molotov cocktail in Kiev (archive)

© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

KIEV, February 25. /TASS/. An anti-government demonstration in downtown Kiev escalated in scuffles on Wednesday afternoon, with 1,000 people already taking part in the event.

The clashes between National Guard troops, deployed near the central metro station Arsenalnaya, and the participants of a nationalist demonstration erupted after police had arrested several protesters.

Protesters are throwing Molotov cocktails at the building of the Prosecutor-General’s Office, saying that his just a "warning signal."

Major police and National Guard forces have been deployed to the centre of the city.

The disorder has engulfed Kiev’s Borispol airport where a group of Ukrainian paramilitaries, calling themselves the Battalion Brotherhood, threaten to suspend air links with the EU countries.

Dozens of people have been gathering near the key airport.

"The purpose of the rally is to demonstrate the military may easily upset air links with the EU countries, if their commanders fail to realize that support for Ukraine’s current authorities is criminal," the Ukrainski Noviny news portal quotes one of the demonstrators as saying.

Ukraine’s first ever strike by employees of the state-run transport enterprise has been announced at the airport.

Earlier this month, the Battalion Brotherhood, the relatives of the Kievan Rus battalion and members of the Mothers’ Council held a protest outside the country’s parliament.

The demonstrators demanded the introduction of martial law and the dismissal of all key government ministers and officials related with military, security and law enforcement affairs - from defence minister to prosecutor-general.

The activists were arrested after their attempt to storm the building had failed.

The protests in Ukraine come amid the economic crisis in the country. Earlier on Wednesday, the major power plants, Uglegorskaya and Slavyanskaya, suspended operation due to the lack of coal.

Ukraine’s Deputy Energy Minister Alexander Svetelik has warned of rotating power cuts if no fuel is delivered. Mobile phone and Internet services have been disrupted in the eastern Donetsk region.

The Ukrainian financial system is also about to collapse. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has earlier acknowledged wrongful actions in the foreign currency policy of the country’s National Bank.

Yatsenyuk warned that the situation could negatively affect Ukraine’s economy.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yanukovych told the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper that Ukraine is "falling into the abyss" as Kiev spends up to $7 million on the war per day.

Yanukovych said the living conditions of the population have significantly deteriorated, while corruption levels have skyrocketed with oligarchs usurping power and the freedom of speech has ended.

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