Fishers family fears for relatives caught in midst of violet Ukrainian protests

70 people killed, 1,500 injured Thursday alone

FISHERS, Ind. - Hoosiers with family in Ukraine are watching increasingly violent protests in Kiev closely, worried about their loved ones as horror unfolds on the streets of their home country.

Lena Lucas spoke to her sister Natasha on the phone Thursday. Natasha, who was in the heart of downtown Kiev, said the city is in "absolute panic," with families barricaded in their homes – too afraid to go to work or school.

"I'm very worried," Lucas said. "I cannot watch it without tears. It's bad. My heart is crying out for Ukraine."

Read one AP reporter's first-hand account of violent clashes in Kiev here .

Lucas and her mother have been watching Ukrainian television non-stop, worried for their family's safety as the violence escalates.

On Thursday morning, 70 protestors were killed in a clash with government soldiers. Another 1,500 were estimated to be wounded.

Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine, has been the epicenter of two months of protests against President Viktor Yanukovych after he turned away from closer ties to the 28-nation European Union in favor of getting a bailout loan from Russia.

Protestors say Yanukovych has ignored their demands, and has taken increasingly violent steps to curb his opposition.

"You know, the population of Ukraine is so poor, it's like the classic revolution set up," Lucas said. "They're so poor where they cannot tolerate this kind of lifestyle any longer."

Although the violence is heartbreaking to watch, Lucas said the revolution "needs to happen."

"This cannot continue – the kind of life they have there," Lucas said. "We have very educated people that have been treated like cattle for years and years, and this revolution is a long time overdue."

According to Lucas' sister, the situation in the country is getting worse by the hour, with bridges, airports and trains closed into and out of Kiev.

Below, find a gallery of photos from protests in Ukraine.
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