From the leftist New York Times.
Security forces fired on masses of antigovernment demonstrators in Kiev on Thursday in a drastic escalation of the three-month-old crisis that left dozens dead and Ukraine reeling from the most lethal day of violence since Soviet times.
The shootings followed a quickly shattered truce, with enraged protesters parading dozens of captured police officers through Kiev’s central square. Despite a frenzy of East-West diplomacy and negotiations, there was little sign that tensions were easing.
President Viktor F. Yanukovych lost at least a dozen political allies, including the mayor of the capital, who resigned from his governing Party of Regions to protest the bloodshed. Mr. Yanukovych conferred with three foreign ministers from the European Union who had come to press for a compromise solution, practically within sight of the main conflict zone in downtown Kiev.
The sights of bullet-riddled bodies slumped amid smoldering debris, some of them shot in the head, and screaming medics carrying the dead and wounded to emergency clinics, including one in a hotel lobby, shocked the country and the world. The opposition said that at least 70 and as many as 100 people had been killed, while municipal authorities put the day’s death toll at 39.
[...]Sviatoslav Khanenko, a lawmaker and a head of the medical service of the National Resistance Headquarters, said by telephone that about 70 people had been killed and more than 1,000 had been wounded. Some news reports said 100 people had been killed.
The death tolls could not be corroborated. But even at the lower casualty numbers reported by Kiev’s municipal health authorities, Thursday was the most lethal day in Ukraine since independence from the Soviet Union more than 22 years ago.
Negotiations are underway, but no deal has been reached:
The foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France met with Mr. Yanukovych for more than four hours on Thursday, and then announced that they would stay in Kiev overnight to continue their discussions. “Ahead of us is a night of heavy negotiations,” Marcin Wojciechowski, a spokesman for the Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, wrote on Twitter.
After the initial round of meetings, the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, said at a news conference in Warsaw that there were some indications that Mr. Yanukovych would be willing to schedule earlier parliamentary and presidential elections, something he had previously resisted. The presidential elections are scheduled for March 2015.
The great fear now is that the pro-Russia government will declare a “state of emergency”, which would mean the deployment of the army and more killing of innocent protesters.
The protests were started by the pro-Russia President’s refusal to sign a free trade deal with the European Union. A free trade deal would displease his Russian masters, even it would help lift Ukraine out of poverty.
As usual, conservative Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper is leading the way.
Canada is expanding a travel ban on senior members of the Ukrainian government and imposing economic sanctions on President Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in an emailed statement Thursday.
“Canada continues to be outraged by the ongoing violence in Ukraine,” Harper said in the statement.
“Our government has responded by introducing a travel ban on the regime’s senior leaders and announcing medical aid to assist the protesters in their time of need.”
Ukrainian citizens, Harper said, ”must be allowed to exercise their democratic right to peaceful protest without being subjected to deadly force and appalling brutality.”
The government is expanding travel restrictions originally announced on Jan. 28 and imposing economic sanctions on the Yanukovych regime and its supporters, the news release said.
The travel ban means the officials sanctioned won’t be allowed into Canada.
“You are not welcome in Canada and we will continue to take strong action until the violence against the people of Ukraine has stopped and democracy has been restored,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said at a press conference to announce the sanctions.
[...]The economic sanctions are to “freeze any assets in Canada belonging to senior Ukrainian government officials,” according to a release from Harper’s office.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech asserting that global warming is as big a threat to the world as terrorism.