Maria Danilova and Yuras Karmanau
SF Gate
February 19, 2014

Defiant Ukrainian protesters seized control of the capital’s central post office Wednesday and stood their ground against riot police on the city’s main square, a day after clashes that left at least 25 people dead and raised fears of prolonged violence.

Protestors are creating barricades by lighting tires on fire. Credit:  Sasha Maksymenko via Flickr
Protestors are creating barricades by lighting tires on fire. Credit: Sasha Maksymenko via Flickr

The violence that also left hundreds injured was the worst in nearly three months of anti-government protests that have paralyzed Kiev, Ukraine’s capital. The opposition and President Viktor Yanukovych’s government are locked in a stalemate over the identity of their nation of 46 million, which is divided in its loyalties between Russia and the West.

In an ominous development, Ukraine’s top security agency accused protesters Wednesday of seizing hundreds of firearms from its offices and announced a nationwide anti-terrorist operation to restore order. The Defense Ministry said the army could take part in the operation.

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