The large Soviet-era Ukraine Hotel lords over Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan, but today it became a makeshift hospital, morgue, and target for snipers.
As protesters were shot and wounded during clashes with security services in the square, many were brought to the Ukraine. Blood stained the floor and furniture as medics struggled to perform life-saving surgery next to the hotel receptionist.
— Kevin Bishop (@bishopk) February 20, 2014
“The entire lobby of the Ukraine Hotel has been transformed in a triage center – emergency medical workers treat the wounded as they are rushed through the doors,” said ABC News producer Matt McGarry, who is staying at the Ukraine Hotel.
“One the other side of the lobby, the dead are laid on the floor under white sheets,” he said.
— Paul Waldie (@pwaldieGLOBE) February 20, 2014
Those bodies, about a dozen of them, arrived during the morning violence. They were only removed late in the evening.
— Bernd Grossheim (@bernacasagrande) February 20, 2014
BBC producer Kevin Bishop, reached by phone just as the bodies were finally removed, said a woman was screaming as they were carried out.
Bloody hell, literally, in Ukraine hotel lobby that was turned into makeshift hospital for the protesters pic.twitter.com/6rEeUEWTSK
— Myroslava Petsa (@myroslavapetsa) February 20, 2014
Bishop, who is also staying at the Ukraine, said the hotel was now under heavy security. Only medics, the wounded, and hotel guests were allowed in.
“The hotel staff should be remembered in all this. They are just regular people that work in a hotel and suddenly they are in the middle of a war zone,” he said.
The hotel is down to a skeleton staff, but those that remained struggled to keep it functioning. The hotel’s restaurant was no longer open and rooms were not tidied by maids.
“It’s not functioning like a hotel anymore. It’s just a large building with a lot of rooms,” Bishop said.
Many international journalists covering the crisis are staying at the Ukraina, due to its proximity to the action in the square, but it became clear today they were not safe from the mayhem there.
— Matt McGarry (@mattmcgarry) February 20, 2014
Several journalists, including ABC’s McGarry, were fired upon by snipers as they filmed from the windows.
— Duncan Crawford (@_DuncanC) February 20, 2014
BBC’s journalists were targeted as well, according to Bishop.
“The hotel is a big old Soviet building that’s built to last. A bullet hit inside the room but barely scuffed the plaster,” he said. “We have to be very careful standing next to the windows.”
Our room at hotel Ukraine was just checked by armed protesters, they were looking for a sniper.
— Yulia Bragina (@YuliaSkyNews) February 20, 2014
Later in the day, camouflaged, gun-toting protesters began searching hotel rooms searching for government snipers they fear are hiding in the hotel.
“It’s quite unsettling,” Bishop said.
Outside, preparations continue for what may be another night of violence.
“People are tearing up paving bricks from the streets and forming long lines as they pass the stones from one to the other all the way up the line to the barricades,” McGarry said.
— Vitalii Sediuk (@VitaliiSediuk) February 20, 2014
“Now darkness has set in and bright orange fires blaze in the night sky. Protesters, filthy and tired looking, man the barricades through the night and keep the flames going by burning tires to create an acrid, black smoke – they say to keep them screened from police snipers,” he said.