Editor's Note: Some of these images contain graphic content.
Fresh fighting broke out Thursday in Kiev just hours after a shaky truce declared by Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich, as anti-government protesters sought to reclaim parts of Independence Square from police. In the early morning, a group of young men reportedly surged at riot police officers who fired back with shotguns. The protesters ultimately took back the square but not without losses -- Thursday's round of clashes bring the total reported death toll to 75. Hundreds of others have been injured, and the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that 67 police officers have been captured by protesters. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk voiced concern on Wednesday to rising fears that the continuing violence could spiral into civil war.
After a momentary promise of reprieve from an amnesty deal over the weekend, Kiev fell into the deadliest spate of violence since protests began in November and the clashes were only rising. The besieged anti-government camp in Independence Square tore down tents and makeshift structures on Wednesday to feed the "ring of fire" that held back the police after incursions the day before that had left some 241 injured, according to official figures. On Tuesday, only a day after Russia announced a $2 billion lifeline to President Viktor Yanukovych, anti-government protesters nudged out of their 20,000-strong camp-city in Independence Square and clashed with riot police, hurling paving stones and Molotov cocktails at government forces who returned fire with rubber bullets and percussion grenades, beginning a series of escalating battles. Protesters reoccupied government buildings they had vacated days earlier. By night the square was in flames. Just before 8pm, armored personnel carriers attempted to breach the barricades, and a column of riot police broke through the lines near the Ukraina Hotel, bringing the fight into the camp. "We see that this regime started shooting at people again," shouted a prominent opposition leader, Arseniy Yatseniuk, from a stage in the square as police advanced. "They want to drown Ukraine in blood.... We won't react on a single one of their provocations. But we won't make any single step back from here, from this Maidan."
Above, anti-government protester sits on the Founders of Kiev monument during clashes with riot police in central Kiev on Feb. 20.
LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images