“It’s a little bit dangerous right now,” Aleksey “White-Ra” Krupnyk said as an explosion lit up the sky behind him.
Krupnyk, a Ukrainian professional StarCraft 2 player who's been icon on the scene since 2003, took to his street to join in on the Euromaiden protests that have been consuming his country since late November.
His goal in posting the video to YouTube was simply to show what’s happening in Ukraine, where previously peaceful demonstrations over new laws limiting public assembly have escalated into armed clashes between police and the hundreds of thousands of protesters.
The demonstrations began after President Viktor Yanukovych killed a long-planned treaty with the European Union and accepted a vast bailout from Russian President Vladimir Putin. As Yanukovych’s plan to keep Ukraine well within the Russian political orbit became clear, pro-Western protesters have increasingly stood against police. Each side has escalated in their use of force over recent months. Then on Sunday, when Krupnyk’s video was made, violence broke out.
Police in body armor and riot shields have been met by protesters wielding firebombs of gasoline-filled beer bottles—among other weapons.
“We’re on a crusade now,” a man building a makeshift catapult to fire cobblestones toward police recently told the New York Times as he pointed the catapult toward the police.
Dozens have been injured since the violence began Sunday, and at least a dozen protesters have been abducted by "unknown men," according to the newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda.
Krupnyk’s video has made its way through the StarCraft community but, in the midst of a torrent of video pouring out of the protests, has had limited reach beyond the competitive gaming world.
Dozens of protesters have already been arrested after a sweeping new anti-protest law was quickly passed by Ukrainian legislators loyal to the President. By filming his attendance at the protest and then spreading it to thousands of people around the world, Krupnyk is placing himself directly in the line of fire of the strict new law.
“For your information,” commenter LXJ wrote, “according to our new laws he can actually face a few years in prison for that video.”
Screengrab via YouTube