- Posted February 22, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Ukraine is one of those unfortunate places that had an ill luck on being at the crossroads with all sorts of geopolitical giants. And it so happened that I live here, in Kyiv- the capital city of Ukraine.
If somebody would ask me "Is violence possible in Ukraine?", the answer would have been negative. And that was about a month ago, before the first death occurred and more have followed.
A peaceful nation in the heart of Europe became a battlefield in a heartbeat. Repressions, tortures, people who have vanished found dead. A fundamental human right to live was violated. Authorities barely maintained the legality of their decisions, but lost legitimacy in the eyes of the nation instead.
The fear grew. The fear to go outside at night, away from your home in the safest Pechersk district of Kyiv (where the government quarter is situated). The fear to seek medical care from official health institutions, because of the possibility to be abducted by the police under false charges for ‘extremism’ (popular term used to brand protesters by officials and Russian TV channels, which are popular in the South and East of Ukraine). Car burnings, and beatings by government 'tituskas' (paid aggressive supporters) just for wearing symbols with the colors of national flag on your clothes. All this was happening in my own country.
Government ministries and services claimed that protesters were responsible for all killings, pro-government TV-channels never mentioned Maidan. Nation grew restless. Opposition leaders never had much support and were helpless, when the crowd protested their appeasement deals with the President.
The 18th of February was when it all happened, when our nation realized it is, indeed, a nation. First, clashes near the parliament, street fighting in the centre of Kyiv. Then, government forces pushed back and tried to claim the main protesters camp - Maidan Nezalezhnosti.
Not many Ukrainians could sleep that night. Explosions, gunshots... about 30 people killed from both sides. Tituskas around the city going wild, wearing white or yellow ribbons on their forearms just like government forces did. Bystanders were killed or injured, buildings burned.
The morning of 20th was even more shocking. Snipers started to kill people near the Maidan, even those, who rushed over to help the wounded. This was the first time, when the internal security troops general admitted the use of live-ammunition and still claimed that the regime was legitimate, but it was too late. That night people finally stopped fearing, gave their last to resistance, started to organize themselves into groups to protect their city and their country. Local authorities started to reject their superiors in Kyiv; police officers and Special Forces units refused to kill people they swore to protect.
The next day our president had vanished, government forces fled...
There are still concerns about separation of Eastern and Southern regions Ukraine, but we believe that the violent part is over. What will happen to Ukraine under the rule of new government and ex-opposition remains a mystery. However now it’s apparent that Ukraine has proven it has its own spirit and doesn't need to rely on Russia, EU or US to make its choice. There is no more fear left.