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21 dead in Kiev in Ukraine's bloodiest day since independence

At least 14 protesters and seven policemen were killed in Kiev, in violence that erupted on Tuesday and continued into the early hours of Wednesday.

 

Many were killed by gunshot and hundreds of people were wounded, with dozens in serious condition, police and opposition representatives

said. It was the bloodiest day since the former Soviet republic, caught in a geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West, won its independence.

 

Ukrainian riot police fought protesters occupying the central Kiev square early Wednesday. After hours of clashes, police were gaining ground in Independence Square, center of three months of protests against President Viktor Yanukovich, but demonstrators managed to find protection behind a burning barricade of tires and wood.

 

Police have gained control of almost half the square and several floors of a trade union building, used as an anti-government headquarters, were on fire as dawn was breaking. (Reuters)