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Feature: Kiev, a torn city

English.news.cn   2014-02-20 23:30:45

by ALona Liashenko, Liu Hongxia

KIEV, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- "My city has turned into a battleground. I am very afraid, as it reminds me of the stories of my parents about the war," said Inga Frolova, a native Kiev citizen, who lives not far away from the city center, the main site of the ongoing protests.

The 47-year-old lady, who has a serious heart disease, claimed that her health has deteriorated over the violence in the country.

"I can not sleep at night because of emotional stress. I can not even go to the pharmacy to buy medicine, because transportation in Kiev is paralyzed," she told Xinhua.

"If I have a heart attack, I wonder if an ambulance could arrive quickly. Almost all of the doctors are busy with treating the victims of the conflict."

The violent clashes between Ukrainian riot police and protesters, which unexpectedly resumed in Kiev on Feb. 18, have so far claimed at least 35 lives and left hundreds of others injured.

"We are working almost round-the-clock. Patients lie even in the corridors of the hospitals. After working for 15 years as a doctor, I've never seen so many wounded," said therapist Valentina, who prefers not to give her last name.

One of the hurt in the clashes, the 22-year-old student Taras, who suffered shrapnel wound after a stun grenade exploded not far from him, said that he does not regret that he had participated in the protests.

"I am risking my life for the sake of every Ukrainian to fight against corruption and banditry in my country," Taras said.

Alongside Taras, tens of thousands of Ukrainians joined the protests. Not only students, but also teachers, businessmen and office workers changed their white shirts and polished shoes to camouflaged down-padded coats, flak jackets and ankle boots.

Yet, not all Ukrainians support the demonstrators.

"Why the protesters have decided that they are representatives of the Ukrainian people? I am also a part of the nation, but I strongly object their actions. I can not get to work because the subway system is not functioning. I am afraid of being fired and I need this job to feed my daughter," said Inna Alexandrova, a restaurant accountant.

The subway system in the Ukrainian capital, which carries around 2 million passengers every day, was closed on Tuesday over a terror threat, triggering a transport disaster for the city, where some 4 million people live.

In addition, the protesters are blocking entry roads to Kiev to ward off riot police.

Traffic police also set up roadblocks to check vehicles entering the capital for explosives, weapons and other dangerous objects.

Those measures have created much inconvenience to ordinary citizens, especially to truck drivers.

Valeriy, who transports goods from western Ukraine to the capital through the international highway Kiev-Chop, was outraged by the road checks.

"For the last 24 hours, I drove little more than 300 kilometers. My vehicle was checked at entrances to each city," Valeriy told Xinhua.

While violence in central Kiev continued, local residents fearing that food stuff will disappear from stores due to transport collapse started hoarding necessities.

"People began to buy more cereals, pasta, meat, canned food, drinking water and matches," said Elena Shcreben, a salesman at a small shop in one of the bedroom communities in Kiev.

Sasha, a member of Ukrainian Berkut, a special force, said in broken English that he was disappointed about some Western reporters.

"They just (say) good things for them (protesters), and (accuse) us (of being) violent," he said. "They (are) not true."

Having been stationed around the Independence Square for the third consecutive day, Vladimir, another policeman wearing a wedding ring, said he wanted to go home.

"But (I) don't know when," he said.

Editor: yan
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