[Anglican Communion News Service] Fresh clashes were breaking out in the Ukrainian capital Kiev this morning, even after President Viktor Yanukovych announced that he was pulling security forces away from Independence Square – the scene of bitter fighting in recent days between pro-government forces and demonstrators demanding the president’s resignation and the repeal of the 2004 constitution.
Journalists reporting from the scene have reported that police snipers have opened fire on the protestors, and that some protestors are armed. At least 17 people are said to have been killed this morning, bringing the total death toll to more than 40.
“I am not shocked any more when I see dead people, but can cry any time without any reason,” said Alla Gedz, a member of Christ Church Anglican Church, part of the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe. Speaking to the Anglican Communion News Service, Gedz said: “Today we saw how the dead were pulled out of St. Michael’s [Ukrainian Orthodox] Cathedral and piled near those who died during the night.”
Gedz said that she witnessed a gathering of “Titushkas” – a state-sponsored civilian militia – outside the main police station in Kiev earlier this week. The church is preparing to become Patronage Parents to orphans and had to visit a number of government and charity offices: “From early morning till late at night we were at different places in the center of Kiev. We hardly left the center, because all the roads were blocked by the police.
“The traffic lights were off. The Metro, the main means of transport in Kiev, has been closed. People have to walk and Kiev is not a small village – it takes hours to get somewhere. All the entrance roads to Kiev are closed.”
The leadership of Christ Church has remained neutral about the political position in Ukraine. “To understand Ukrainians, people either have to be born with a Ukrainian heart and know the history or to serve this nation,” Alla said.
“We are very grateful for your prayers,” she said, “because being in the midst of the revolution we do have supernatural peace in our hearts.”