Ukraine’s government and its opposition announced a truce last night, but it didn’t last long. Police had kept the Euromaidan protests locked up in Independence Square, but when they pulled back, protesters charged — and expanded their grip on the streets. Richard Engel gives NBC’s Today this update on the armed conflict that is now spreading through the capital:
A fragile truce between pro-West demonstrators and Ukraine’s security forces was shattered early Thursday as battles erupted on the streets of Kiev, leaving at least 10 people dead.
Facing sanctions from the United States and the European Union, President Viktor Yanukovych reached a truce with opposition leaders on Wednesday night after two days of violence that saw at least 28 people killed.
But the pact was short lived. Independence Square –- where the protest movement has camped out since November –- descended into urban warfare by 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET). Authorities confirmed seven civilian deaths and said three police officers had also been killed.
The number of those killed keeps going up; current estimates at the time this posted are between 25 and 50. Engel included a little bit of this video in the report, but the entirety of it shows pretty clearly that snipers are being used in Kiev against protesters:
The US imposed sanctions on twenty Ukrainian government officials, the first action from the Obama administration to the conflict:
Espreso TV in Ukraine has live video now of Independence Square, although it cuts in and out. NBC has a non-embeddable version at this link. At the moment, it looks quiet, but some of the action is now taking place in the streets around the square.