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42 dead, 125 taken to hospital as a result of Odessa Trade Unions House fire

May 03, 2014, 11:59 UTC+3 ODESSA
There are 21 policemen among the injured
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© AP Photo/Sergei Poliakov

ODESSA, May 03. /ITAR-TASS/. As many as 42 people have died and 125 have been taken to hospital as a result of a fire in the Trade Unions House in Odessa, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported on Saturday.

“As a result of clashes and fire in the Trade Unions House in Odessa’s Kulikovo Pole square 42 people have died and 125 have been injured and taken to hospital. There are 21 policemen among the injured,” the ministry said.

The disturbance began in Odessa in the daytime on Friday with a mass brawl at Grecheskaya Street. It was instigated by football fans from Kharkov and Right Sector and Self-Defence radicals from Kiev, who decided to organize a march on Odessa streets. They provoked clashes with federalization supporters. Forcing them out, radicals set fire to a camp at Kulikovo Field where activists collected signatures to hold a referendum on federalization of Ukraine and the official status of the Russian language. Activists from the camp escaped to the nearby building of the regional House of Trade Unions, and radicals set fire to the building. When the fire reached the upper floors, many of the people there died from smoke. Others jumped from upper floors and died when falling. Those who survived were cruelly beaten by Kiev radicals with batons.

Regional council member and Odessa mayoral candidate Alexei Albu was also attacked.

"When we came out of the burning building, a crowd of nationalists attacked us. I can say that about a hundred people were hurt. People jumped out of windows. Everything was in smoke. People lying on the ground were kicked with feet. I and one of our activists, Vlad, have serious head injuries. We are heading for a hospital. Earlier in the day, our activist Ivan received a bullet wound. Right Sector members who attacked the House of Trade Unions were fully equipped, armed and prepared beforehand," Albu said. He is in a hospital where he has received first aid.

On Friday evening, medical personnel in Odessa asked city residents to help save scores of injured people. First of all dressings and antibiotics were needed. Hospitals were short of them, said doctors at the city's first clinic, where injured people were taken.

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