TODAY   |  February 19, 2014

At least 25 killed in Ukrainian capital

New violence erupted between police and protestors in Kiev, where at least 25 people were killed and more than 240 injured. The embattled president said he is trying to bring order. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>> our top story. the deteriorating situation fueled by the violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police. richard engel is in kiev this morning. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. medical officials say of those 25 people killed here since yesterday, the majority of them are demonstrators. the situation here is still unfolding. the protesters have been using loud speakers this morning to call for reinforcements, for more men, and these clashes are wreaking havoc on downtown kiev .

>> reporter: central kiev this morning was smoldering and burning. riot police reinforce their positions around independent square. but the police have left a few roads open. if the protesters decide they want to leave. but they don't want to leave. in fact, the demonstrators, several thousand, are making independent square their alamo. their place to stand against the government's policies.

>> last chance for us.

>> reporter: and they're streaming it all live on the internet.

>> reporter: this is the dividing line between the two sides. over here, you have the riot police . they are well-equipped and numerically probably have the upper hand. just behind them, you see the barricades that the demonstrators have set up and then set on fire. it's a fire line that the protesters are using to keep these riot police away from them. and behind that still smoking fire line are the protesters themselves. last night, central kiev looked nothing less than apacolypic. and the protesters fighting with bricks and molotov cocktails dragged away one of their own who had been shot. the embattled president gave a national address saying he's trying to bring law and order after demonstrators resorted to violence. these were once peaceful demonstrations, but they're not that anymore.

>> reporter: it is now clearly a battle of wills. today the ukrainian president spoke with his close russian ally putin, both russia and the ukrainian government describe the demonstration as a coup attempt. back to you.

>> all right, richard engel in this unfolding situation in kiev .