Two demonstrators have died of gunshot wounds in downtown Kiev, Ukrainian prosecutors confirmed Wednesday, bringing to three the number killed since anti-government protests intensified last weekend.
An unidentified man phoned emergency services to report the discovery of a body in the National Academy of Sciences' library (near the parliament building, where the latest clashes have occurred), the Attorney General's Office said in a statement.
Shortly afterward, at around 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, the demonstrators brought a man who had sustained two gunshot wounds to the head and chest - and later died - to the same library.
The two victims both were shot by snipers on Grushevski St., Ukrainian news agency Liga.novosti said.
An Interior Ministry spokesman, however, told the Interfax news agency that police did not use firearms in clashes with the demonstrators.
A third demonstrator died Tuesday in a hospital from injuries suffered in a 13-meter (43-foot) fall from gates surrounding Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium, also located on Grushevsky St., local media reported.
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov warned Wednesday that "the government will not allow any anarchy or chaos in the country."
In a Cabinet meeting, the premier urged Ukrainians to leave the streets and support the government's policies and called on the opposition to decide if it supports the violent demonstrations in Kiev or not.
"If it doesn't, it should call on demonstrators to cease the clashes. If it does, then it should assume the consequences," he added.
Anti-government protests erupted in Ukraine in November after President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from plans to ink a free-trade deal with the European Union.
He later signed a $15 billion loan package with Russia and negotiated a deal to enable Ukraine, a former Soviet state, to purchase natural gas from its neighbor at a steep discount.
This week's street battles followed a massive anti-government demonstration on Sunday, when more than 100,000 people gathered in Kiev's Independence Square to demand that Yanukovych and Azarov resign and denounce new anti-protest legislation passed last week by ruling-party lawmakers that they say violates basic rights. EFE