Russia has received numerous requests from Ukrainian civilians to protect them from radicals, including those from the Right Sector group, and has promised consider them, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement says.
Gunmen, including those from the far-right group Right Sector, continue their rampage in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, March 15.
“We are getting alarming reports that a column with armed mercenaries from Right Sector has left Kharkov for Donetsk and Lugansk. Right Sector leaders have declared the opening of the ‘eastern front’ and one of the clothing factories is hurriedly sewing Russian military uniform,” the ministry said.
“Russia is receiving many appeals from peaceful citizens who are asking for protection. These appeals will be considered,” the ministry said.
Firearms and cartridges were seized from a group of radicals arrested early on Saturday after clashes in Kharkov the previous night claimed two lives and left five people injured, the mayor said on Saturday. “Three sawn-off shotguns, three hunting guns, one combat rifle, and two pistols adjusted for combat cartridges were seized from them. This is information from the Interior Ministry. Quite a lot of ammunition was found for the weapons they had,” Gennady Kernes told reporters.
The radicals arrived in Kharkov from Poltava, Ukraine, barricaded themselves in the local headquarters of Right Sector and opened fire, but later surrendered to police with Kernes’ mediation. The wounded included one policeman.
“I believe that today there need to be combined efforts to put an end to the riots and fatalities that are taking place,” Kernes said.
Moscow believes that, now that a group of extreme right-wingers who opened fire in Kharkov last night, killing two people, has been arrested, Kiev should move to punish extremists in Ukraine. “The arrest of a Neo-Nazi fighter in Kharkov should pave the way for large-scale moves to neutralize and punish the extremists who have got out of hand”, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, Konstantin Dolgov tweeted on Saturday.
“No one has cancelled Ukraine’s international commitments to counter racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. Ukraine should therefore meet these commitments”, Dolgov points out.
An operation for the detention of militants from the Right Sector (radical Ukrainian group), who started a fire fight and seized hostages in Kharkov, has been completed, head of the Regional Department of Internal Affairs Anatoly Dmitriyev said.
About 30 people were detained, the exact number would be released later. Their identities had yet to be established as they carried no passports. Fingerprints would be taken from the guns left in the building, Dmitriyev said.
The detained persons are being held in custody at a district police station. Kharkov defenders opposing Right Sector nationalists are standing outside the building to prevent the militants’ release. “We fear they will be released,” one of city residents said.
Earlier, after negotiations by Kharkov Mayor Kernes with the militants, one of the three hostages was released. “As a result of the negotiations, one hostage was freed. About 40 radicals remained in the building. Two people remained with the militants as hostages, one is a policeman who entered the building to negotiate,” Kernes said.
Two people died and two, including a policeman, were wounded in clashes between Kharkov residents and Right Sector militants. Submachine gun fire came from the Right Sector headquarters, and stun grenades and Molotov cocktails were used.
Two people died and two were injured in a conflict between Kharkov residents and militants from the Right Sector, Mayor of Kharkov Gennady Kernes reported today.
An Itar-Tass correspondent reports that 40-50 militants are in the building hosting the Right Sector headquarters. The police have cordoned off the building, and a special operation is underway. The mayor is holding talks with radicals.
A representative of the local movement against Maidan protests told an Itar-Tass correspondent earlier today that clashes were underway between Kharkov residents and militants reportedly from western Ukraine on Rymarskaya Street (in downtown Kharkov).
The activist said Kharkov defenders were standing against militants, presumably from the Right Sector, who were firing assault rifles. Reports also said fire was delivered and stun grenades and Molotov cocktails thrown from the windows of the right sector building.
Maidan is the name for downtown Kiev’s Independence Square, which is the symbol of Ukrainian protests. The word “Maidan” is also used as a collective name for anti-government protests in Ukraine.
Right Sector activists were reportedly involved in clashes with police in Ukraine’s anti-government protests that started in November 2013 when the country’s authorities refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.
The Ukrainian protests led to a coup in the country in February. President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns. Yanukovich told reporters in south Russia on Tuesday that he remained the legitimate Ukrainian president despite “an anti-constitutional seizure of power by armed radicals.