Kiev descended into chaos as the "Euromaidan" protests escalated Tuesday, with reports of at least nine protesters killed in clashes with riot police.
Live video of the scene in Ukraine, which can be viewed above, showed massive fires in Independence Square, the site of the largest "Euromaidan" protest in the country. Riot police also used water cannons, and stun grenades to subdue protesters. A YouTube video showing a man being beaten by riot police was taken down from the video-sharing website.
The protests began in November when Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych signaled that he wanted his country to be closer to Russia by rejecting an agreement to align Ukraine closer with the European Union.
The demonstrations escalated on Tuesday when antigovernment activists threw stones and Molotov cocktails at riot police, the New York Times reported. Protesters also set fire to the headquarters of the Regions Party, which is the ruling political party in Ukraine.
The escalation prompted Ukraine’s interior ministry and state security agency to issue a joint statement, warning that “grave actions” would have to be taken if protesters didn’t temper their demonstrations.
"If unrest continues we will be forced to take grave actions," the statement read, according to Agence France-Presse. Subway stations around the protests were shuttered in wake of the demonstrations.
A protest camp where some of the demonstrators were stationed was set on fire, the Associated Press reported.