Ukraine burns

An aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich warned his opponents on Wednesday that he could deploy force against them after what he called their attempt to "seize power" by means of "arson and murder". REUTERS/Olga Yakimovich

Reports from Kiev, where police attacks on anti-government demonstrators have left many of them dead, are grim. Kiev's Brief Truce Shatters in Bursts of Gunfire, reports The New York Times.

Ukraine's descent into a spiral of violence accelerated on Thursday as protesters and riot police officers used firearms in a clash as opposition members sought to reclaim areas of Independence Square, the symbolic central plaza in the capital that had been taken by the police two days before.

Vice News sent a reporter to the barricades.

As the social unrest spreads across the country, its first post-Soviet President, Leonid Kravchuk, has gone as far as to warn that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war. Dozens of people have lost their lives in just the last two days of violence.