There’s gunfire, explosions and brutal clashes in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine as fighting erupted between pro- and anti-govt protesters, RT’s stringer reports from the scene.
14 people have asked for medical assistance, with several hospitalized, after clashes in Donetsk, the regional administration told Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
According to Novosti Donbassa (Donbas News), eight people have been taken to the city’s Kalinin hospital after violence broke out.
The website also reports of a policeman being shell-shocked due to handmade grenade exploding near him.
Pro- and-anti-Kiev protest rallies took place simultaneously in the city.
According to RT’s stringer Graham Phillips, there were plenty of masked young men on both sides, and they were clearly looking for a fight.
The police failed to contain the crowd as protesters clashed with each other, using firecrackers, smoke grenades, baseball bats and sticks.
A group of about 1,000 “neo-Nazi thugs” has come to Donetsk from Dnepropetrovsk on Monday to cause provocations, the press-service of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk told RT.
“We were expecting an attack. We had objective information. Really, the guys arrived with baseball bats, sticks and rods. Those were the ultras from Dnepropetrovsk, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk supporters. According to our info, there were also people from FC Dynamo Kyiv fan base. I have no information of any Right Sector involvement,” Vitaly Ivanov, a press-service member, who was at the scene, stressed.
Initially, there were about 200 local anti-Kiev activists, who went out “to meet them halfway in order to regain the initiative”, he said.
“More and more people joined us at an incredible pace as we made our way… When we reached them [pro-Kiev radicals], there were around 1,000 of us,” Ivanov said.
According to him, the ultras were “surrounded by the police, which was brought, especially, for the occasion” as the officers on the scene were from Kirovograd region, but not from the Donetsk force.
“We were received with aggression. Smoke grenades were thrown at us. Several people got injured. Then there were a couple of small scuffles with the ultras. And then they just dispersed. They didn’t expect such a rebuff; that there’ll be so many of us,” he said.
There were around 2,000 pro-Kiev demonstrators, who were marching on one of the main streets of the city, RT’s Paula Slier reports from Donetsk.
When they crossed paths with a smaller rally of anti-government protesters, violent clashes erupted, she said.
“I was among the group that is anti-Kiev. What I saw was both sides with their faces covered. There were Molotov cocktails and stones being thrown… Among the anti-Kiev crowd people were shouting: ‘Crimea! Donbass! Russia!” Slier reported.
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