KIEV: Two activists were shot dead on Wednesday during clashes with security forces in Kiev, the general prosecutors said, the first fatalities since the start of the Ukraine protests two months ago.
Prosecutors said that the corpse of an activist with gunshot wounds to the head and chest was found in a library used by activists as an infirmary. Shortly afterwards, another corpse with gunshot wounds was also confirmed, the statement added. Protesters claimed they were shot by police snipers but this was not confirmed by the prosecutors.
New clashes broke out as the police arrested protesters and created a large hole in the barricades, which the protesters had based on the burned out wrecks of destroyed police buses.
Police threw stun grenades into the area where the protesters were standing as protesters responded by throwing stones.
The police, protected with helmets and riot shields, advanced some 50 meters (160 feet) towards the Dnipro Hotel, which lies at the end of Grushevsky Street.
However, the police then retreated back to their former positions, although it was not clear if this was just to regroup before launching a new assault.
The police warned protesters not to approach closer than three meters (10 feet) to their lines, saying this would be considered a threat against the life of a policeman.
Meanwhile, the United States has revoked the visas of several Ukrainian nationals linked to violence in Kiev, the US embassy said on Wednesday.
“In response to actions taken against protestors on the Maidan in November and December of last year, the US Embassy has revoked the visas of several Ukrainians who were linked to the violence,” the embassy in Kiev said in a statement.