Ukraine President sacks army chief as 26 die in violent protest

At least 26 people have died in two days of escalation of violence.

Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, has sacked the country’s chief of armed forces after 26 people were killed in two days of violent protests.

Colonel General Volodymyr Zamana’s sack was announced on President Yanukovych’s website on Wednesday.

Col Gen Zamana has been replaced by the commander of Ukraine’s navy, Admiral Yuriy Ilyin, by presidential decree.

The move came after at least 26 people were killed in the country’s most violent demonstrations in decades, which has seen protesters fighting security police.

More than 250 people, including police and journalists, have been hospitalized.

As violence continued Wednesday, the country’s armed forces signalled it may take over the effort to restore order.

Many Ukrainians are angry at the government’s decision to agree to closer ties with Russia in favour of the European Union.

The protest began November 2013 with protesters demanding the resignation of the president. The prime minister resigned in January.

Mr. Yanukovych’s government refers to the protesters as “terrorists and criminals”.

The latest violence began Tuesday when protesters attacked police lines and set fires outside the parliament.
 
Armed with water cannons, stun grenades and rubber bullets, police responded by attacking the protest camp, and dismantling some barricades.
 
But the protesters held their ground through the night, encircling the protest camp with new burning barricades of tires, furniture and debris, the Associated Press reported.
The state security agency accused protesters Wednesday of seizing 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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