02/19/2014 02:03 EST | Updated 04/21/2014 05:59 EDT

Ukrainians in Canada watch unfolding violence in Kyiv

Ukrainians in Canada are watching with horror as violence erupts on the streets of Kyiv, leaving at least 25 people dead in clashes between police and protesters.

The violence, which has left hundreds injured in recent days, is the worst in nearly three months of anti-government protests in the capital city in a struggle over the nation's identity.

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets, throwing fire bombs and rocks at officers in riot gear.

Dasha Naumova, who moved to Montreal from Ukraine three years ago, is taking to social media to keep on top of the situation.

“What I’m reading is tears and despair, people desperate — they just don’t understand how that might happen, in 24 hours so many deaths,” she told CBC News.

In Winnipeg, Canadian and municipal flags at city hall have been lowered to half-mast to mark the violence.

Mayor Sam Katz told CBC News his thoughts are with Winnipeggers who have family in Ukraine.

"Hard would not be the appropriate word — very difficult to watch what's going on and then be told by authorities that it's the protesters' fault; yeah very difficult to stomach to say the least," he said.

'All we can do is pray'

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the streets of Toronto on Tuesday night, calling for a peaceful solution.

Oksana Cherchyk, who moved to Toronto from Ukraine seven years ago, said watching the violence unfold in her home country has been difficult.

"I started crying at work," she told CBC News. "It was just so painful. All we can do is pray here. I had to turn it off."

Former Saskatchewan resident Lana Nicole Kubin, who now lives in Ukraine, says she stands behind the protesters.

"I've been here for 10 years," she said. "This is as much my fight as the Ukrainians'."

A rally was being held in Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon, while some Windsor residents met to plan a rally in the southwestern Ontario city.