Kiwi witnesses violence of Kiev

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 24/02/2014

Relevant offers

Asia

Typhoon kills 13 in China Malaysia and Netherlands to work together on MH17 Impossible to determine cause of death Skyscraper mania grips China TransAsia plane crash cause probed Taiwan crash kills dozens 13 children killed in school bus crash Airline wins support after poignant MH17 tweet Giant toad sparks China censorship row China braces itself for second typhoon

A Kiwi journalist on the front line of the bloodshed in Ukraine has told of watching as police fired on demonstrators, and of crowds swarming into the overthrown president's palace.

They found a galleon on a manmade lake, fake ruins, a private zoo and garages filled with cars, former Southland Times reporter Jared Morgan said yesterday.

"What they saw there was absolutely unbelievable. It's an open secret he was corrupt, but this . . . it's unprecedented."

President Viktor Yanukovych is reported to have fled the capital, Kiev, for his stronghold in the east of the country, near the Russian border.

Morgan has lived in Kiev since 2011, working for English-language magazine What's On Kiev. Over the past three months he has watched as protests in the capital escalated into fiery clashes in which more than 100 protesters, as well as police officers, were killed.

He was in Independence Square on Thursday when the shots began to ring out. "Most of the time I actually felt pretty safe there. I was quite close to the front line when Molotovs were being thrown and felt safe [but] on Thursday morning, not particularly.

"I didn't see anything, but I heard it. The rest of the day was punctuated by the sounds of it."

There was a spontaneous outpouring of public grief and sadness at the funerals of the protesters. "People here are not as brutal as they appear. It's a very steely facade but they are actually quite emotional - quick to anger, quick to sadden and quick to laugh."

The chanting of Orthodox priests at the funerals was incredibly moving, he said. "People were weeping. It was absolutely beautiful. At the same time there was a very deep running sentiment that somebody had to answer for this."

Since Mr Yanukovych fled, the parliament has announced a new interim prime minister and has freed imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. But the situation is fluid.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content