Civil unrest spread across the country earlier on Friday as protesters laid siege to government buildings in at least nine other cities — occupying some and thronging outside others.
The widening turmoil, in the central Ukrainian cities of Khmelnitsky, Zhytomyr and Cherkasy, as well as in the western strongholds of Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk, Rivne and Chernivtsi, showed that the authorities, including the elite Berkut riot police and Interior Ministry troops, were outnumbered and at risk of being spread too thin.
Ominously, the Interior Ministry said that a policeman had been shot to death in a neighborhood in southern Kiev, about 10 miles away from the main conflict zone. If connected to the civil unrest, it would be the first death of a law enforcement officer since protests began in late November.
The ministry also said that three police officers had been attacked and taken hostage near Independence Square, which is occupied by demonstrators. It said one officer was stabbed and others were held in the Trade Unions building, which has served as an improvised headquarters for the opposition.