Under Fire in Ukraine: Kiev is a Combat Zone

What started as a peaceful protest in Kiev exploded into bloodshed, with dozens dead.
3:00 | 02/21/14

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Transcript for Under Fire in Ukraine: Kiev is a Combat Zone
It started as a peaceful protest in one of Europe's busiest capitals. Today, it exploded into massive violence and bloodshed. Now on the brink of a civil war, at least 70 dead so far and the death toll rising. At issue, should Ukraine have closer ties to the U.S. And Europe or Putin's Russia? Our team is on the ground and under fire in this fast developing and breaking news story. For weeks, that european capital has been the scene of a violent uprising. Today, the bloodiest day yet in more than 70 dead and counting. We are not terrorist. We are free people who want to live in a good country without corruption with good laws. With good standards of living. Reporter: Ukraine, once a nuclear power that was part of the soviet union is divided and at a cross roads. Caught between its past and the future, pitting east against west. Its president is accused of corruption and human rights abuses. Trying to turn the country closer to Vladimir Putin's Russia. If Putin will defeat us, Europe will get a lot of problems, because like the ussr, we will rise again. Reporter: But opposition forces who have now set up a fortress say they want to follow the paths of Europe and America, craving the democracy and rites of the we rights of the west, telling us they will die for this. How do you think this will finish? We must do win and we must do our new country, which will be a part of basic rules and what you're fighting for 200 years ago. We fighting for this today. This is your revolution today. Yes. Reporter: Just 24 hours ago, there had been a glimmer of hope as a truce was announced. But by dawn, that hope was dash ed as battles broke out once again between government security forces and protesters. You see their truce? They announced a truce but now they throw grenades at us. This is what we mean by truce. We don't trust them. Reporter: This morning, ABC news cameras captured brutal scenes. Protesters gunned down by security forces. Fellow activists running to their aid, coming you should fire themselves. Snipers lurking in windows and on roof tops. There are snipers firing. If we get weapons we will shoot. We will eliminate these animals. Protesters were also firing on police with live ammunition and were reported to have captured almost 70 members of the police. Journalists were not immune from attack. Our own camera's vanltage point coming under assault by a sniper, bursting through the windows of our producer's hotel room. Suddenly there was a loud bang. I hit the floor. When I turned around, I saw bullet holes in the wall. Reporter: By afternoon, more than 70 people had been killed and makeshift clinics were filled with hundreds of dead and wounded. This is very surreal. This is the lobby of one of the nicest hotels in Ukraine that's now been built into a makeshift hospital. The reception has been turned into a pharmacy. Today was supposed to be a day of mourning for those killed earlier in the week. Instead, it became the bloodiest day in Ukraine's post soviet history. The bullets come directly to heart, to neck, to lungs. We just were doing emergency, but we have no chance to save their life. The opposition movement began peacefully this past November in response to Ukraine's democratically elected president strengthening his ties with Russia. But what had looked like a revolution now has the makings of a civil were. With protests spreading across the country, much of which sup rt pos the president in his pro Russia stance. Here in kiev in recent days. Independence scare has turned into a full scale war zone. Running street battles complete with bare kids, molotov cocktails and homemade bombs launched at government anti-riot forces. It is a stark post apocalyptic scene as we saw when we arrived today. This is an amazing sight in one of eastern Europe's biggest and most picturesque cities. You have these beautiful monuments right next to these barricades that have been set up and maintained for months by the protesters. It's like a combination of medieval and mad max. The encampment works like a small village. Some cooking on an open fire while others cook their gas bombs. Everyone is milling about, everyone has their helmets on. Tonight, we saw the victims of the fighting up close, their bodies carried through a surging crowd on the square as they chanted heroes. Singing anthems in memory of the fallen. The white house following Europe in announcing tonight that the U.S. Will impose sanctions on Ukrainian officials it believes are directly responsible for the violence. But for now, the Ukraine's president is budging. Both sides are dicking in, setting the scene for more bloodshed that threatens to tear this country apart. Thank you for that report. Please stay with ABC news for the latest on this developing story.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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