Feb. 18th, 15:45: Losing October Palace

Euromaidan demonstrators pick up stones dug up from the pathway to throw at police and Berkut forces approaching from the Southeast over Instituska St.



Euromaidan demonstrators taunt incoming police and Berkut forces from a hill overlooking Institutska St.



Police and Berkut forces encounter exploding fireworks ignited by Euromaidan activists.



Euromaidan demonstrators observe police and Berkut advancing on Insituska St. from the October Palace hill.



Euromaidan demonstrators prepare to throw liberated sidewalk masonry towards advancing police and Berkut forces.



Euromaidan demonstrators gather at a Southeast stairway to the courtyard of October Palace, observing the movements of government forces advancing to seize the structure. Two days later I would again witness wearied members of this movement preparing for conflict on the same stairway in their efforts to retake it.



An armed Euromaidan combatant stumbles as a thrown paving stone sails airborne towards an advancing group of police and Berkut forces on the October Palace courtyard.



A demonstrator wearing the Ukrainian flag across his brow flees a swelling police and Berkut unit. The government-aligned squad reconfigures into a tetsudo formation, likely in anticipation of projectile and incendiary attacks expected from the coalescing group of militant Euromaidan activists before them on the courtyard of October Palace.



Caught in the aftermath of a gas grenade activation, one Euromaidan combatant runs back towards his group as another throws a rock.



A Euromaidan combatant mirrors the display of an agitated member of approaching police and Berkut forces on the October Palace courtyard.



A closer shot of the group of police and Berkut officers who would soon engage Euromaidan combatants upfield over the October Palace courtyard. Those in black are conscripts – “internal troops” and generally young at 18 to 21 years old. The figure in the bluish-toned camouflage fatigues is part of the Berkut special police force.



A gas grenade is activated by mistake within the police unit advancing through the October Palace courtyard as defending Euromaidan combatants set up a shield blockade.



Euromaidan combatants fall back as police and Berkut regroup. A heavily armored combatant observes police through a homemade shield.



Euromaidan combatants spread to cover the pillared outdoor face of October Palace as police attempt to exploit undefended ground.



An errant molotov cocktail explodes upon one of the pillars of October Palace. Collateral damage to historic structures in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, is commonly observed when police and demonstrators clash.



The police/Berkut unit face Euromaidan combatants as both groups hold their ground. Police and Berkut have organized into a tetsudo formation, wherein shields are utilized to create a “turtle-shell” that protects against aerial attacks such as large rocks and lit molotov cocktails. Euromaidan combatants form a shield wall.





A Euromaidan combatant clad in green fatigues takes command of this collection of Euromaidan combatants.



Euromaidan combatants share a shield in the face of a hostile police presence on the front grounds of October Palace. Shields are a precious commodity within the Euromaidan “self-defense” units and there are not always enough for every participant.



As a molotov cocktail explodes in the center of the approaching police and Berkut unit, a Euromaidan combatant crouches behind homemade shields.



Euromaidan combatant clad in green fatigues sends a tire set ablaze towards the approaching police and Berkut formation.













HMMM – The Euromaidan combatant in charge of this collection of combatents hurls flaming tires and lobs rocks at police and Berkut forces..



As police and Berkut begin to move at a greater pace towards the group of Euromaidan combatants, panic spreads. Here, a Euromaidan combatant in a black vest releases a molotov cocktail into the air as several rocks, thrown seconds before by his companions, fly towards the police and Berkut formation.



More rocks are thrown by Euromaidan combatents as a molotov cocktail explodes in the center of approaching police/Berkut, creating a rare moment of chaos for this disciplined police and military force and temporarily dividing their unit.



A Euromaidan combatant wearing a red and black flag patch on his arm, commonly associated with the far-right paramilitary group Right Sector, attacks police with a firearm.



Euromaidan combatant shoots an unknown model of firearm at police until its ammunition is exhausted, then falls back.



A Euromaidan combatant takes cover from advancing police and Berkut units behind one of the pillars of October Palace.



The Euromaidan combatant who had previously led a collection of combatents against swelling police and Berkut numbers throws a tire drenched in gasoline towards police and Berkut forces. At this point this individual remains alone on the courtyard, his companions having fled to safer ground.



Euromaidan combatants hasten towards the police and Berkut formation carrying lit molotov cocktails.



Euromaidan combatants simultaneously release molotov cocktails at police and Berkut forces, who are kept at a distance for a short duration by constant harassment of this sort.



A Euromaidan combatant in a plastic orange hard hat slowly walks backwards while holding a heavy shield.



Police and Berkut break through Euromaidan defenses outside of October Palace and run forward, collecting and throwing rocks previously dug up by demonstrators and firing buckshot from shotguns.



Both combat-participating and docile members of the Euromaidan movement are chased to lower ground by police and Berkut units.



A Berkut officer wearing a surgical mask, center frame, throws one of the large paving stones dug up previously by Euromaidan activits towards the camera. Note: this stone hit me, destroying an audio recorder in my pocket along with many recorded interviews.



As the pedestrian pathways surrounding October Palace grounds are overrun by police, Berkut, and their combined reinforcements, Euromaidan members race down the hill, some looking to escape back to the safety of Independence Square and crowds, others still intending to create disruption for government forces.

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