22 Jan 2014

Kiev, January 2014: black smoke in the sky, blood stains in the snow

Today is Unity Day in the Ukraine. This irony has now been basted in violence.

The long running rift has erupted in running battles between the protesters and the riot police.

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Neither side is giving up. Both sides have mobilised reinforcements and both are spoiling for a fight.

In classic Roman formation the police took back the avenue in front of parliament. I saw at least three officers use pump action rubber bullet guns.

This is apparently how the three protesters died.

Independence Square now resembles a fortress or medieval castle. The barricades have been reinforced with snow bags, barbed wire and discarded Christmas trees.

Tyres have been set on fire and black smokes fills the bright white sky. here and there blood stains fresh snow.

Thousands of men and some women have appeared armed with clubs and even pitchforks. The fur clad babushki stand their ground.

The air is filled with the cacophony of revolution. Stun grenades, the ping of rubber bullets and the relentless drumming of any piece of metal that makes a noise.

It is Kiev at the beginning of 2014. It feels more like the Game of Thrones.

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