A grim instant message and a pair of pictures on social media depict in microcosm the horror unfolding in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev.
The pictures show a young Ukrainian volunteer medic, Olesya Zhukovska, who had apparently travelled to Ukraine in the last few days. The first shows the 21-year-old smiling in a white jacket and medic’s bib with a homemade red cross, a helmet and ski goggles on her head.
The second shows Zhukovska after being shot in the neck, hand grasping her wound being helped to safety, bleeding over the fingers of one hand while holding her mobile with another.
It is around this time Zhukovska sent a message to her account on Vkontakte and Twitter declaring simply: “I am dying.”
Early reports suggested that Zhukovska had succumbed to her injuries, one of several journalists and volunteer medics to have been targeted by pro-government government snipers around Kiev’s Independence Square.
But those claims were later contradicted by a reports that Oleysa had survived and was in hospital in Kiev on respirator after being operated on for her injuries.
Her short desperate tweet came after a series of increasingly anxious messages posted by Zhukovska before she was shot. Her previous message read: “Urgent to all Kiev Anywhere! We need your support! The carnage started in the morning…”
According to her Twitter feed, written in Ukrainian, Zhukovska only arrived in Kiev this week and visited the square for the first time the day before she was shot.
Her messages described both the excitement, fear and frustrations of being around Independence Square as it descended into violence and bloodshed.
"Tomorrow I will be in Ukraine," she writes early on, and later describes making her way to the square that has been the scene of violent clashes between pro-government forces and those demanding the resignation of Ukraine’s president.
She describes making her way to the square then: “Finally went! With God!”
Later she hears rumours that Russia may be sending troops to back the government forces – something she says she has heard from “many reliable sources.”
As the violence gets worse she seeks shelter in a church, where there is a slightly better phone signal.
Even then, she writes, she has tried to post her message five times.
The last message, after she was shot, appeared at 9.44am on Thursday. Since then there has been silence.
Wild before and after shot of Kiev’s Independence Square | Reddit
I Am a Ukrainian - Support the Ukrainian People