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UN Security Council members don’t back Odessa probe initiative

May 21, 2014, 21:24 UTC+3
At least 48 people died and 247 were injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House in Odessa
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© ITAR-TASS/Abaca Press

THE UNITED NATIONS, May 21./ITAR-TASS/. UN Security Council members have not supported Russia’s proposal to ask the secretary general of the global organization to organize an unbiased investigation of events in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa where dozens died in early May in clashes and a fire, Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, UN Security Council members have been unable to back our call to turn to the secretary general with a request to conduct an objective probe,” Churkin said.

Odessa saw riots on May 2, during which soccer fans who came from the city of Kharkiv, as well as Right Sector far-right ultranationalist movement militants and so-called “Maidan self-defense” representatives from Kiev organized a march along city streets.

Clashes with federalization supporters occurred during the march. Radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where their opponents hid, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian. The attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building.

At least 48 people died and 247 were injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House. Another 48 people are listed as missing. Many Ukrainian politicians, including people’s deputy Oleh Tsariov and Odessa regional council deputy Vadim Savenko, say the official death count figures are understated. They assert that the death toll reached 116 but that the Kiev authorities conceal the facts.

Ukraine is in turmoil after a coup occurred in the country in February. New people were propelled to power amid riots as security concerns caused President Viktor Yanukovych to leave the country the same month.

After Crimea’s accession to Russia on March 18 following a referendum two days before, protests against the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories, with demonstrators seizing some government buildings and demanding federalization.

Kiev has been conducting a punitive operation against pro-federalization activists.

The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine.

In Mariupol in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian law enforcers opened fire from armored vehicles on participants of a rally held in honor of Victory Day on May 9 who gathered near the building of the local Interior Ministry department and who were trying to prevent its storm. Nine people died and 42 were injured.

 

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