Ukrainian anti-government protesters in the capital's Independence Square have "openly used firearms" against Berkut police forces in Kiev, wounding more than 20 officers, according to the country's Ministry of Interior.
"Over 20 law enforcers have been hurt so far," the police said in a statement, The Voice of Russia reported.
Clashes between protesters and riot police are reported in the heart of Kiev. Demonstrators have created a veil of smoke to prepare for an assault. Black smoke is billowing from the smoldering tires in the streets.
Crowds are said to be throwing Molotov cocktails and cobblestones in police cordons. Police are said to be responding with rubber bullets and light grenades.
A police spokesperson said sniper gunshots were fired at police troops from a conservatorium building in the Independence Square, also known as Maidan. Some witness reports claim these were buck-shots.
A speaker on the Maidan podium has meanwhile announced that protesters are armed and ready for an attack.