Update: Readers will be relieved to hear that Zhukovska today tweeted out a simple message to her followers, reporting that she is alive and thanking people for their support.
Я жива! Дякую всім,хто підтримує та молиться за мене! / Я в лікарні.стан поки що стабільний!— Olesya Zhukovskaya (@OlesyaZhukovska) February 21, 2014
Original Post: Conflicting reports indicate that Olesya Zhukovska, a 21-year-old medic volunteer, is alive after being reportedly shot in the middle of the Kiev demonstrations this morning. Zhukovska quickly become a symbol of Thursday's escalation in violence in Independence Square after a photo appearing to show the medic, bleeding and clutching her neck, went viral. Zhukovska was shot despite clearly wearing a red cross on her clothing, indicating she was a medical volunteer.
Around the same time, she posted a short message to her Twitter and Vkontakte (a Russian version of Facebook) accounts that translates to, "I'm dying."
Я вмираю— Olesya Zhukovskaya (@OlesyaZhukovska) February 20, 2014
As the Guardian explained, early reports and rumors indicated that the medic had died shortly after posting that ominous message. But this does not seem to be the case — later reports claim that she was wounded, and is being treated for her injuries in a nearby hospital.As those watching the Kiev protests waited to know more about today's carnage, and the news of the her fate, two photographs of Zhukovska began to go viral. The first shows her in her medic's uniform — today was reportedly her first day working in the square. The second shows her clutching her neck, bleeding from her wounds.
Підстрелена дівчина-медик - Олеся Жуковська, 1993-го року народження pic.twitter.com/VGWUBcgASo— The Avramchuk Post (@avramchuk_katya) February 20, 2014
Paramedic volunteer shot in the neck whites on social network "I'm dying". pic.twitter.com/0yhKuJ3EvH— Bogdan Ovcharuk (@goddan) February 20, 2014
We don't know very much about the origin of either photo, or why the latter is clearly a shot of someone else's camera screen. But we do know that these photos have bolstered the opposition's claims that government-paid snipers are targeting medics and journalists on the ground in Kiev. On Thursday, the Ukrainian government acknowledged for the first time that it had provided its police forces with combat weapons and live ammunition to use against protesters. Shortly after, the death toll in the days-long violence in Kiev skyrocketed to at least 60, and is likely much higher.