World News

Riot Police Move on Kyiv Protesters' Camp After 9 Die in Clashes

Ukrainian riot police used water cannon late Tuesday as they advanced on anti-government protesters in the center of Kyiv after a day of violent clashes in which nine people were killed.

Protesters hurled firebombs and stones and launched fireworks at the police, who had surrounded the main opposition camp on Kyiv's Independence Square, known as Maidan. They also ignited bonfires of tires and wood to prevent police from entering the camp.

Nine people were killed earlier Tuesday as police and protesters fought near the parliament building in the Ukrainian capital.

Police officials were quoted as saying that seven civilians had died in the violence, some from gunshot wounds, along with two police officers apparently killed by gunfire.

The heavy fighting broke out as police tried to block demonstrators marching on the parliament building.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that the United States is "appalled" by the violence in Kyiv. He urged Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych to "de-escalate" the situation.

Earlier Tuesday, Ukraine's interior ministry and state security agency said in a joint statement that they would be "forced to introduce order through all legal means" if unrest did not end by 6 p.m., local time (4 p.m. UTC).

Boxer-turned-opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko urged women and children to leave the Maidan protest camp in case riot police stormed it.

U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcast hours of video live from the scene, showing many of the clashes in detail.

Anti-government protests in Ukraine have been building for weeks, with activists calling for the ouster of President Yanukovych after he backed away from a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday she was "deeply worried" by the "grave new escalation" in Kyiv and condemned "all use of violence, including against public or party buildings."

Ashton urged Ukraine's political leaders "to address the root causes of the crisis."

In Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported "the atmosphere has worsened sharply in central Kyiv." In a statement Tuesday, Russian authorities blamed the violence on Western governments, accusing them of encouraging "radical forces" among the protesters.

On Monday, Russia said it would release an additional $2 billion to Ukraine to support its moribund economy, a move seen as strengthening President Yanukovych's bid to remain in power. The money is part of a $15 billion loan promised by Russia.

Weeks of protests in Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities have spawned widespread media coverage abroad and calls for more democracy in the former Soviet republic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a leading figure in the 28-member EU trade bloc, met Monday with Klitschko and another Ukrainian opposition leader, Arseni Yatsenyuk.

Klitschko, writing ahead of the meeting in the German daily Bild, said the opposition was seeking EU support for sanctions against the Yanukovych government and help in curbing the powers of the Ukrainian president.

A Merkel spokesman was later quoted by Deutsche Welle as saying the chancellor voiced "sympathy for the legitimate concerns of the Ukrainian people." But he said Ms. Merkel did not agree with calls for sanctions at this time.

EU and U.S. officials have repeatedly said they are working with the International Monetary Fund on details of an aid package that analysts have described as rivaling or exceeding the Russian bailout deal. But no concrete offers have been made public.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs