Protests that began in November are intensifying in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. At least four protesters have been killed in the increasingly violent clashes with state police, and hundreds more have been injured.
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are demonstrating openly, furious with President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision in late 2013 to scrap a landmark deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. Since November there have been threats of all-out violence, but as of this weekend it’s been total mayhem outside in the Kiev cold.
In addition to the dead and injured demonstrators, at least 42 journalists trying to report the anti-government protests have been attacked and wounded, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. But that hasn’t stopped reporters and photojournalists from bringing us the surreal scenes as best they can under a blanket of fear. What follows is a gallery of AP photos so real, so tangible, so insane, they look like something straight off the cover of a post-apocalyptic video game.
After a day of bloodshed, negotiations may finally be getting underway: Ukrainian opposition leaders are now set to meet President Yanukovich. Former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, one of those opposition leaders, said he will lead pro-European Union protesters “on the attack” if elections are not called. Yanukovich has asked the speaker of parliament to hold an emergency session next week to discuss the crisis. It’s amazing to think that Ukraine might fall into civil war, and one of the best heavyweights of the past 20 years will be leading the opposition.