Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Kharkiv Trouble "Pre-Planned", says Regional Head
The governor of Kharkiv province, Igor Baluta, has told Glavnoe that events overnight [March 14-15] on Rymarskaya Street in central Kharkiv were a well-planned act of provocation by pro-Russia chauvinists.
It has emerged that the trouble began on Freedom Square when a VW Transporter minibus with Dniepropetrovsk number plates drove up to a group of pro-Russia demonstrators. Baluta said the authorities have been looking for this vehicle since the last act of provocation took place in Kharkiv a few days ago.
The passengers from the bus deliberately sought a confrontation with the pro-Russia activists. After this, they drove to the offices of Prosvita [pro-Ukraine group] Rymarskaya Street where they parked the vehicle. The pro-Russia activists went after them, bolstering their numbers with young men from the Oplot group.
The conflict was deliberately escalated on Rymarskaya Street, although no Prosvita members got involved.
Once the conflict had been incited far enough, the agents provocateurs encouraged the separatists and the Oplot people to attack the Prosvita office.
Two people died in the clashes and a policeman was seriously injured.
Provincial governor Baluta says the scene is entirely ringed by police, who are carrying out arrests of the separatists.
Today the head of the provincial government warned Kharkiv residents that the Ukrainian interior ministry and security service had information that pro-Russia chauvinists were planning a number of acts of provocation, including terrorist attacks, on Saturday and Sunday [March 15-16].
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