1392923142002-EPA-UKRAINE-UNREST3As Ukraine slid deeper into violence on Thursday fears grew that the army could soon be called into the fray in a development that observers warned could have devastating repercussions for the nation. People close to Ukraine’s opposition leaders expressed concern that president Viktor Yanukovich, his options dwindling, was preparing to unleash the army to crush the protests against him – possibly within hours. They also accused Ukrainian authorities of provoking Thursday’s violence, with snipers firing at protesters on Kiev’s central square, as a pretext for a decisive clampdown. Mr Yanukovich’s website pointed the blame at protesters. “If there is a decision to use force to clear the protesters, it can be done but will start a civil war,” said Ihor Smeshko, former head of Ukraine’s SBU security services. “The army is so far neutral, but if it is pulled into this conflict it will be a point of no return. Army personnel are themselves split 50/50 in their views of Ukraine.” More