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Ukraine crisis: what's happening

world Updated: Feb 20, 2014 14:09 IST
Ukraine riots

Hundreds of armed Ukrainian protesters charged police barricades Thursday in Kiev's central Independence Square, despite a truce called just hours earlier by the country's embattled president.

Here's a quick look at what is happening in Ukraine:

•20,000 anti-Yanukovich protesters clash with police outside parliament; over 20 dead, over 200 hospitalised

•Street battles, amidst tear gas by riot police at the Maidan - the local name for Independence Square

•Worst nationwide violence since the start of three month political crisis, since protests broke out in November 2013

•Protests began when Yanukovich bowed to Russian pressure and pulled out of a planned far-reaching trade pact with the European Union, deciding instead to accept a Kremlin bailout for the heavily indebted economy

•Monday February 17's $2 billion cash injection, a resumption of a $15 billion aid package, was seen as a signal that Russia believed Yanukovich had a plan to end the protests and had dropped any idea of bringing opposition leaders into government

•Kiev in lockdown as city's metro system halted and limited road traffic movement into the capital

•Opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko and Arseny Yatsenyuk say they had quit talks with President Yanukovich without reaching any agreement on how to end the violence

•US vice president Joe Biden called Yanukovich, urging him to pull back government forces and exercise maximum restraint

•Pole vault great and Ukraine Olympic head Sergei Bubka calls for halt to violence in Ukraine

•Right Sector, a militant far-right group, added to tension by urging people holding weapons to go to Independence Square to protect it from the security forces

•Ukraine has been rocked periodically by political turmoil since gaining independence from the Soviet Union more than 22 years ago, but it has never experienced violence on this scale

Ukraine crisis: The clashes in pictures