BEFORE AND AFTER: Kiev's Independence Square Looks Like The Apocalypse

Independence Square (aka Maidan) in central Kiev is the epicentre of an ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Protesters have been camped out since December, defending Maidan against Russian-backed riot police and security forces loyal to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. At least 26 people have died int he clashes over the past two days.

Here’s what Independence Square looked like in September 2009 as compared to Wednesday morning:

Here’s what the square looked like before dawn on Wednesday morning:

UkraineREUTERS/Petro ZadorozhnySmoke rises above Independence Square during anti-government protests in central Kiev in the early hours of February 19, 2014.

And here’s a look at the no-man’s land that has formed between anti-government protesters and police:

UkraineREUTERS/Olga YakimovichAn aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014.

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