Clashes between pro-Moscow and pro-Kiev demonstrators in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking city of Kharkiv have reportedly killed two people
One pro-Russia protester and a passerby were killed by gunfire during clashes between the two sides outside a building of the far-right Ukrainian nationalist group, Right Sector, late on Friday.
Police said events leading to the deaths in the eastern city began when a group of nationalists opened fire from inside a car at a pro-Russian protest being held on Kharkiv’s central Svoboda (Freedom) Square.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakhov said on his Facebook page that around 30 people “from both sides” were also arrested.
Violent clashes between rival demonstrators in Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk also left one person dead and over a dozen injured on March 13.
The violence erupted after people chanting slogans praising Russian President Vladimir Putin clashed with a group of people who condemned the Russian government for supporting Crimea’s push to secede from Ukraine.
People broke through a police cordon keeping the two sides apart. Local health officials said a 22-year-old man died of a knife wound and 15 others were accepted to hospital.
On Sunday, the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which has a large Russian-speaking population, is set to hold a referendum on whether to remain part of Ukraine or join Russia.
The scheduled move has caused high tension between Russia and the West, which has warned of heavy sanctions against Moscow should it annex Crimea.