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Pro-unity Ukrainians claim victory in Odessa Square

Monday, May 05, 2014 - 01:57

May 5 - Pro-unity Ukrainians rally victorious at the site of a blaze, where more than 40 people, mainly pro-Russian activists, died after clashes with pro-Kiev groups on Friday. Sarah Toms reports.

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Hundreds of pro-unity Ukrainians burn the Russian flag at the site of bloody clashes on Friday. They're claiming victory over the separatists who had seized control of this Odessa Square. Forty Ukrainians -- mostly pro-Russian separatists -- died trapped in a fire at the building they'd occupied. The protesters observed a minute of silence to remember the dead. Ukrainian troops are carrying out operations in the east to regain control of government buildings from pro-Moscow separatists. But Ukraine's acting President Oleksander Turchinov insists Kiev has not lost control entirely and that Moscow supporters had met resistance in the Black Sea as residents -- like these -- were prepared to protect their city. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINE ACTING PRESIDENT, OLEKSANDER TURCHINOV, SAYING (AUDIO STARTS WITH WIDE OF INTERVIEW (TIMECODE 00:27)): "The Russian Federation is at war with Ukraine. Both on the east and south they are trying to destabilise the situation completely. And if they managed in the east - let us be straight - when it comes to the Odessa region - and this is one of the Russian Federation's main targets - as well as the Kharkiv region, that is where they have felt the real resistance." Turchinov and other leaders criticise the Odessa police force for freeing nearly 70 pro-Russian activists arrested over Friday's clashes. The police chief was sacked and Ivan Katerinchuk was appointed in his place. Late on Sunday supporters of the Kiev authorities showed their support for the new police chief who promised to bring those responsible to justice. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) NEWLY APPOINTED REGIONAL POLICE CHIEF, IVAN KATERINCHUK, SAYING: "Those who broke the law and committed crimes will be prosecuted." (CROWDS SHOUT "WHEN?") "I urge you please remain calm and give the opportunity to do this." Here at Odessa Square activists hoist the Ukrainian flag, singing their national anthem. They've reclaimed the Square for now but the violence over the past few days has been the first serious disorder away from the Russian border, emphasising the country's deep divisions extend far beyond the east.

Pro-unity Ukrainians claim victory in Odessa Square

Monday, May 05, 2014 - 01:57

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