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Yuri Gregoriovych Pikhulin, 77, a retired Epidemiologist who lives in Horlivka, approximately 30 miles from the city of Donetsk. Mr. Pikhulin voted for Viktor Yanukovych in the last presidential election and believes the United States played a part in forcing him out of office. Though he said of Mr. Yanukovych, “There is no need to idealize him… He was a self made man who came from below. He didn’t fit in. He didn’t have enough intellect.”A native Russian speaker, Mr. Pikhulin blames what he calls extremists and fascists from western Ukraine for the Euro Maidan protests that toppled the Yanukovych government in February. He fondly remembers Ukrainian songs and performances during Soviet holidays, but said, “When I hear a politician speak Ukrainian publically I have a prejudice against him.”
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“Even I, with quite pro-European and pro-Ukrainian views have difficulty making a choice in this election. With the variety of candidates we have I would rather vote against them all, but I understand the complexity and instability of the situation.” She then added, “I look at [Petro] Poroshenko, who has the highest rating at the moment, and it is not that I want to vote for him, but I can consider this option,” said Kateryna Zhemchuzhnykova, 25, a journalist at Portal News, a Ukrainian language news outlet in Donetsk. Here she stands for a portrait in the kitchen of the news organizations offices.Ms. Zhemchuzhnykova is also an activist who took part in pro-European Union demonstrations in Donetsk and Kiev, which began in November 2013 after the deposed former president Viktor Yanukovych turned away from a trade agreement with the European Union and in favor of closer ties with Moscow.Pinned to the wall above Ms. Zhemchuzhnykova’s desk is a flier that was handed out near her home with her photograph with the word GUILTY!!! written across it along with her name and address. The flier also stated: Near you lives a radical criminal! She supports the unrest in Kiev and this is why she is guilty of human deaths!!!
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“My feeling is that God is love and unity. The devil’s axiom unfortunately still works: divide and conquer. When the devil can’t get into a person, into his mind and his heart, he goes into another person to do his deeds. These people that divide us, one day the will repent. The same way that the Soviets repented for ruining churches decades later.”Father Andrij Chuy, 44, a Ukrainian Orthodox priest from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarch supported the Euro Maidan protest movement, though he didn’t take part in any protests. He stands for a portrait near the alter of the Sviatoho Filareta Milostyvoho church in Donetsk. Father Chuy’s grandfather was a landowner and farmer who fled eastern Ukraine for the western part of Ukraine in the 1920s shortly after the Soviets took power. His parents, both born in western Ukraine, were exiled to Siberia after WWII and returned in the 1950s after Stalin’s death.
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“No one wants to fight a war. Not us. Not the Russians. Trust me.”Serhiy Anastasyev, a tenor in the Donetsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, sits back stage for a portrait in his costume and makeup before a performance of the comedic opera Natalka Poltavka. Mr. Anastasyev was one of the organizers of the Euro Maidan protests in Donetsk and also took an active roll in protests in the Ukrainian capital Kiev where he stood at the barricades. “There needs to be 100 percent lustration of the police, State Security Service, all law enforcement structures,” he said.Mr. Anastasyev served in the Soviet military where he specialized as a sniper. “Professionally we were taught how to kill.” Though he never had to shoot at anyone and hasn’t shot a gun since 1981 he hinted, if necessary, “I could be back in form within 24 hours.”
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“The government is not legitimate, but fascist and there are fascists sitting in our parliament. We want our independent republic to be free. Russia has always been our brother and our guarantor. And we will ask Vladimir Vladimirovych Putin to take us as a younger immature brother into his customs union.”Olga Klimenko, 56, a retired metallurgical plant worker from Mariupol in southern Donetsk stands near barricades that features Soviet era symbols in front of the Donetsk State Administration Building. She carries binoculars as she claims to be on the watch for government snipers who might be on rooftops. Pro-Russian demonstrators have occupied the building since April 6. Some of them claim they want more autonomy from the central government, while others want independence and unification with Russia.
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KIEV, UKRAINE, April 23, 2014: Ukrainian artist Matvey Vaisberg, 55, sits in his Kiev studio in front of his paintings that depict the burning barricades and the areas around them during the revolution in January and February. Mr. Vaisberg took part in the large protest movement, which began in November and lasted approximately three months, after the Ukrainian government turned away from signing a free trade agreement with the European Union and instead moved the country closer to Moscow. Over 100 people were killed, mostly between February 18-20, during the revolution that ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych.
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DONETSK OBLAST, UKRAINE, October 18, 2013: Alla, 76, stands in the doorway of a small trailer she lives in, which is without running water or electricity, working as a security guard on a plot of land where an illegal coal mine was set up, but is inactive, in the village of Severnoe in eastern Ukraine. CREDIT: Joseph Sywenkyj
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His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar, who resigned in 2011 as the head of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church, sits in his residence in the village of Knyazhychi on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Knyazhychi, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, July 19, 2012, ©Joseph Sywenkyj 2012
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Bob Decker, 65, of Rumney, New Hampshire, is a Vietnam veteran who worked with juvenile delinquents for 31 years in Manchester. He came out of retirement to work at the Plymouth Regional Senior Center.
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Mark Billings, 61, an investment banker and economist at his home along Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire.
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A United States Special Forces soldier on a joint operation with American trained Iraqi Commandos stands outside a house in western Baghdad where a raid was in progress in search of two brothers suspected of setting up car bombs, IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and sniper operations. The suspects were not found. Baghdad, Iraq, June 22, 2011
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Ali Mohammad Heaal, 31, was a police trainee when he lost an arm to a car bomb explosion 2005. He is now the manager of an NGO called Lanterns of Mercy that assists disabled Iraqis and wounded members of Iraq’s security forces. Baghdad, Iraq, July 19, 2011
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Sabrin Karim, 13, was shopping with members of her family at the Algayara market in Baghdad’s Sadr City when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded. She received injuries to her hands, back, and legs. Throughout Baghdad on Tuesday, 84 people were wounded and 10 people were killed in various bombings. Al-Sadr General Hospital, Iraq, July 21, 2009
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Power lines from generators provide electricity to homes and shops in the Baghdad neighborhood of Kifah. Baghdad, Iraq, July 28, 2010
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Tamar Enukidze, 29 year-old and three months pregnant, cries over the body of her husband Mamuka Katsadze, who was 42 when he was killed. Mr. Katsadze was at work on August 8 at the strategic Black Sea port in Poti when several Russian bombs hit the port. Poti, Georgia, August 12, 2008The Russian Federation invaded Georgia in August 2008 after Georgian forces launched an attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of the Georgian separatist region of South Ossetia. Georgia contends it was responding to the shelling of Georgian villages by South Ossetian forces. Russia claims it invaded Georgia to protect South Ossetian and Russian civilians. However, Russian forces occupied large swaths of Georgian territory and targeted military as well as civilian infrastructure throughout Georgia, in some cases, hundreds of kilometers from South Ossetia.
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A refugee from the war in Abkhazia in the early 1990s looks out over a balcony in a building that was hit by a Russian bomb attack two days earlier in the town of Senaki. 200 people lived in the building and witnesses said three people were killed in the attack. Russian forces, who claimed to be peacekeepers, occupied a Georgian military base in the town. Senaki, Georgia, August 11, 2008The Russian Federation invaded Georgia in August 2008 after Georgian forces launched an attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of the Georgian separatist region of South Ossetia. Georgia contends it was responding to the shelling of Georgian villages by South Ossetian forces. Russia claims it invaded Georgia to protect South Ossetian and Russian civilians. However, Russian forces occupied large swaths of Georgian territory and targeted military as well as civilian infrastructure throughout Georgia, in some cases, hundreds of kilometers from South Ossetia.
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Georgian soldiers who were detained at the strategic Black Sea port in Poti sit blindfolded on top on of a Russian APC as it leaves the port for the occupied Georgian base in Senaki. At least 21 Georgian soldiers were detained at the port by Russian forces. August 19, 2008The Russian Federation invaded Georgia in August 2008 after Georgian forces launched an attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of the Georgian separatist region of South Ossetia. Georgia contends it was responding to the shelling of Georgian villages by South Ossetian forces. Russia claims it invaded Georgia to protect South Ossetian and Russian civilians. However, Russian forces occupied large swaths of Georgian territory and targeted military as well as civilian infrastructure throughout Georgia, in some cases, hundreds of kilometers from South Ossetia.
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Lviv, Ukraine, October 4, 2013: Andriy Vasylkiv, 23, serves customers at Lvivska Kopalnya Kavy (Lviv Coffee Mine), a popular coffee shop that roasts its own coffee, located on the historic Rynok Square in central Lviv. ©Joseph Sywenkyj 2013
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Wrapped pancakes at the upscale Lipsky Osobniak restaurant in central Kyiv. ©Joseph Sywenkyj 2011
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Members of the Dakh Daughters Band, who merge tradition Ukrainian and contemporary music of various genres as well as performance art, prepare for a show backstage at a theater in Kyiv (Kiev). Ukraine, 2014
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Visitors view frescos dating to the first half of the 18th century in the style of Ukrainian Baroque in the Troitska Church, which dates back to the 12th century. The church is located on the territory of Kiev Pechersk Lavra, which is an Orthodox Christian monastery, a National Historical and Cultural Preserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kiev, Ukraine, May 8, 2012
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A woman lovingly embraces a large cross in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv in front of Saint Andrew’s Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Cathedral, which dates back to the 17th century and is located in the city center among cobble-stoned streets. Lviv, Ukraine, August 30, 2012The Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church, also known as the Ukrainian Catholic church, is the largest Byzantine rite church in full communion with the Pope of Rome. The church has seen a rebirth since Ukrainian independence over 20 years ago. During the Soviet period, the church was completely banned, its priests and nuns were severely persecuted and its property was taken over by the Soviet state or handed over to the control of the Russian Orthodox Church.
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Lviv, Ukraine, October 4, 2013: The tree lined Akademika Bohomoltsia street is located in the Lviv city center. CREDIT: Joseph Sywenkyj for The New York Times
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People enjoy themselves at the Arena Dance Club located at the Arena City complex in central Kiev. Kiev, Ukraine, May 6, 2012
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A boy climbs along a large Soviet era memorial at the National Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. Kiev, Ukraine, May 2, 2012
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An orthodox Jewish man walks past a sukkah, which has been set up on the grounds of a Jewish school in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv (Kiev). Jews celebrate Sukkot, an eight day holiday, inside of a walled temporary structure called a sukkah that is covered with natural materials, such as leaves and branches, on the ceiling inside. Meals are eaten inside the sukkah during the holiday. Kyiv, Ukraine, October 6, 2009
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Volodymyr Hanchorovsky, 31, married with 4 children, kisses his wife in their home in Khmelnitsky Oblast. Volodymyr was severely wounded on February 20, 2014 when he was shot three times, twice in the back and once in the right arm, while attempting to reach wounded demonstrators who had been shot by security forces in central Kyiv during the Euro Maidan Revolution. Volodymyr underwent multiple operations in Ukraine and Germany but has significant and persistent issues, including extreme pain throughout his body due to nerve damage. This often inhibits him from receiving physical therapy. Teofipol, Ukraine, November 17, 2014
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“I went to the Maidan on February 1st. I could not sit and watch the disorder [from afar] -- the beating of children, students as well as their parents at the hands of the Berkut [riot police]. I could not wait and watch…. My heart was being torn apart by what was happening in the State.” Volodymyr Hanchorovsky, 31, married with 4 children, is prepared for an X-ray at a hospital in Truskavetz, where he is undergoing physical therapy. Volodymyr was severely wounded on February 20, 2014 when he was shot three times, twice in the back and once in the right arm, while attempting to reach wounded demonstrators who had been shot by security forces in central Kyiv during the Euro Maidan Revolution. Volodymyr underwent multiple operations in Ukraine and Germany but has significant and persistent issues, including extreme pain throughout his body due to nerve damage. This often inhibits him from receiving physical therapy. Truskavetz, Ukraine, September 6, 2014
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Volodymyr Hanchorovsky, 31, married with 4 children, sits in church after his son’s Christening. Volodymyr was severely wounded on February 20, 2014 when he was shot three times, twice in the back and once in the right arm, while attempting to reach wounded demonstrators who had been shot by security forces in central Kyiv during the Euro Maidan Revolution. Volodymyr underwent multiple operations in Ukraine and Germany but has significant and persistent issues, including extreme pain throughout his body due to nerve damage. This often inhibits him from receiving physical therapy. Teofipol, Ukraine, November 16, 2014
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Volodymyr Hanchorovsky, 31, married with 4 children, is assisted down a set of stairs after his son’s Christening. Proper infrastructure for the physically disabled barely exists in Ukrainian cities, towns and villages. Volodymyr was severely wounded on February 20, 2014 when he was shot three times, twice in the back and once in the right arm, while attempting to reach wounded demonstrators who had been shot by security forces in central Kyiv during the Euro Maidan Revolution. Volodymyr underwent multiple operations in Ukraine and Germany but has significant and persistent issues, including extreme pain throughout his body due to nerve damage. This often inhibits him from receiving physical therapy. Teofipol, Ukraine, November 16, 2014
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“I am just very thankful that I already have children.” Artem Zapototsky, 34, undergoes physical therapy in a pool in Truskavets. Artem was severely wounded while taking part in the Euromaidan Revolution on February 20, 2014, when he was shot in the back as he stood unarmed on the footbridge that crosses above Instytutska Street. The bullet damaged his spine before embedding near his left shoulder blade, where it remains today. Married and a father of two children, Artem is a lawyer from Lutsk. Dedicated and motivated, he aspires to regain the use of his legs and trains for approximately 6 hours a day while also continuing his work as a lawyer. Truskavets, Ukraine, September 6, 2014
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“Our life has changed completely,” said Svitlana Kapusta, 29. Svitlana wipes the brow of her husband, Sergeant Sergey Masan, a Ukrainian paratrooper from the southern Ukrainian region of Mykolaiv, as he recovers in a hospital in Dnipropetrovsk. Sgt. Masan sustained burns to 70% of his body and lost several fingers in a grad rocket attack in the village of Dyakovo in Luhansk Oblast near the Russian border. He spent approximately three months in the war zone and asserted that his brigade was frequently fired upon with grad rockets launched from the Russian Federation into Ukraine. Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, September 29, 2014
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Vadym Dovhoryk, 23, a Ukrainian special forces soldier lays in the intensive care ward at the Kyiv City Burn Center. He was near Debaltsevo when his unit was shelled on the second day of the armistice commonly referred to a Minsk II. Vadym was wounded in the attack and also suffered severe frostbite after spending three days in a forest before being detained by Russian supported separatist forces. He is now a triple amputee. “We were ambushed as our entire group was executing a mission. I was informed yesterday about all the guys. Two others and I went missing. One of them was buried yesterday. Another is in morgue in a Dnipropetrovsk, but his parents have not yet recovered his remains. They recognized him but are still waiting for the DNA test results. He was our commander.” Kyiv, Ukraine, March 25, 2015.
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“If I was not a patriot, I would not have joined the army.” Taras Moklyak, 23, a grenade launcher operator from Ivano-Frankivsk, is comforted by Natalia, a close friend, at the Kyiv Military Hospital shortly before traveling to Germany for further medical treatment. Taras was mobilized in May 2014, and was wounded in the village of Starodubne. He has severe abdominal and pelvic injuries. Kyiv, Ukraine, March 19, 2015
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Kateryna Panchenko (right), 20 years old and 7 months pregnant, cries over the body of her husband Edward, 22, at a morgue in Kyiv. Both are from the eastern Ukrainian city of Dniprodzerzhynsk. Mr. Panchenko; a soldier with the 93rd Brigade, was severely wounded in January during heavy fighting at the Donetsk airport. He died at the Kyiv Military Hospital in the early morning hour of February 8, 2015. Kyiv, Ukraine, February 10, 2015
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Roman Kubishkin, a 41 year-old construction worker, joined the volunteer battalion Right Sector and was based in Pisky, a village near the remains of the Donetsk International Airport. Shells fired by separatist forces on January 22, 2015 nearly killed him; in fact, his fellow soldiers thought he was dead due to a severe head trauma in which Roman lost much of the right side of his brain. “16 clinics refused to take Roman because he was in such difficult condition. Nodus was the only one,” said his mother Iryna. Roman is cared for at Nodus, a modern neurological and neurosurgical rehabilitation center located in Brovary, outside of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. His monthly care costs approximately 70-80,000 UAH, approximately $3,000 - $3,300, which is largely funded by donations and volunteers. Brovary, Ukraine, July 28, 2015
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Valentya Ivanivna grieves over the casket of her son Serhey Korchinsky, a 35-year-old Ukrainian soldier. Serhey died several weeks after suffering severe burns near the front line of the Russian and separatist occupied areas of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Novodnistrovsk, Ukraine, November 24, 2015
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Viacheslav Buinovsky, 41, whose right hand and right leg were amputated, walks toward a close friend as he takes some of his first steps using a prosthetic leg at Ortotech Service, a prosthetics workshop in Kyiv’s Podil district. Viacheslav worked as a mechanic in Sumy Oblast prior to the Euromaidan Revolution, in which he took an active role. He volunteered for the Aidar Battalion after the Maidan and was severely wounded near Luhansk in September 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine, February 10, 2015
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University students Sergey, 19, and Victoria, 20, a young couple from the eastern Ukrainian oblast of Dnipropetrovsk, embrace on Independence Square before Sergey heads off to Hrushevsky Street, a short distance away, where a street battle raged for a 4th day between demonstrators and police forces in central Kyiv. January 22, 2014
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A demonstrator stands in front of burning vehicles during violent clashes with police in the center of Kyiv on Hrushevsky Street. The violence began after demonstrators marched toward parliament from Independence Square. They encountered police forces who blocked their path and the violence ensued from there. Hundreds were wounded in the violence and at least three demonstrators were killed over several days. January 19, 2014
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A young woman steps off a destroyed vehicle that was used to form a barricade between demonstrators and police forces during a lull in violent clashes on Hrushevsky Street in central Kyiv. January 21, 2014
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A wounded demonstrator receives aid during violent clashes with police forces in the center of Kyiv on Hrushevsky Street. The violence began after demonstrators marched towards parliament from Independence Square several days after draconian laws were passed by the ruling Party of Regions in parliament. They encountered police forces who blocked their path and the violence ensued from there. Hundreds were wounded in the violence over several days and several demonstrators were killed. January 19, 2014
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Oleksander Huch, 27, was severely wounded on February 20th when he was shot in the leg by a sniper while trying to assist a wounded demonstrator who had also been shot by security forces in central Kyiv. He prays along with a visiting priest in a Kyiv hospital as he waits to travel abroad for further treatment. February 26, 2014
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A barricade on Kyiv’s main boulevard Khreshchatyk protects Independence Square, which has been dubbed the Euro Maidan (Euro Square) by demonstrators. February 9, 2014
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Mourners grieve over the body of Mikhail Zhiznevsky, 25, at Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in central Kyiv. Mr. Zhiznevsky was one of three demonstrators shot and killed during violent clashes with police forces on Hrushevsky Street in central Kyiv in January. January 26, 2014
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Demonstrators rest at a newly built barricade on Independence Square during street clashes between riot police and pro-EU and anti-government demonstrators in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Dozens were killed and hundreds were injured in clashes the previous day in the city center. February 19, 2014
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A man who gave his name as Grandfather Yuri, 69, brandishes a sword on Independence Square during street clashes between riot police and pro-EU and anti-government demonstrators in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Dozens were killed and hundreds were injured in clashes the previous day in the city center. February 19, 2014
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Mourners carry the body of a Ukrainian demonstrator through Independence Square in central Kyiv. The protestor was killed during violent clashes with police forces a day earlier on Institutska Street. Over 100 people were killed and thousands were wounded during clashes with police forces throughout the revolution that ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych and his corrupt inner circle. February 21, 2014