Clad in helmets and gas masks, wielding sticks and shields, and chanting “Re-vo-lu-tion!,” protesters in Kiev, the capital, rushed a police bus blocking their way to parliament and set it on fire with Molotov cocktails, local media reported.
Later in the evening, they fired rubber bullets, according to a reporter for the Kyiv Post, the local English-language newspaper.
Western officials called for an end to the violence.
The European Union said earlier this week that it was not considering Ukrainian officials involved in earlier outbreaks of violence.
The State Department told BuzzFeed Sunday that “all diplomatic tools are on the table” if the situation deteriorates, including sanctions.
Ukrainians, however, are furious with foreign governments for professing moral support but doing little to back it up.
UPDATE — Jan. 19, 8:15 p.m. ET: Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Ukraine
We are deeply concerned by the violence taking place today on the streets of Kyiv and urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation. The increasing tension in Ukraine is a direct consequence of the government failing to acknowledge the legitimate grievances of its people. Instead, it has moved to weaken the foundations of Ukraine’s democracy by criminalizing peaceful protest and stripping civil society and political opponents of key democratic protections under the law. We urge the Government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation signed into law in recent days, withdrawing the riot police from downtown Kyiv, and beginning a dialogue with the political opposition. From its first days, the Maidan movement has been defined by a spirit of non-violence and we support today’s call by opposition political leaders to reestablish that principle. The U.S. will continue to consider additional steps — including sanctions — in response to the use of violence.
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