The operation to detain militants in the Right Sector headquarters in Kharkiv was completed on early Saturday, the Rossiya 24 (Russia 24) TV channel reported.
According to the information of the TV channel, rebels took three hostages, who were released after long negotiations and personal involvement of the Kharkiv mayor. Representatives of the radical movement arrived in Kharkiv on late March 14 and attacked rally participants, as a result two people died.
Police and Kharkiv authorities were negotiating with the insurgent throughout the night, the Rossiya 24 correspondent on site reported. Eventually Right Sector militants agreed to lay arms down. However, the Kharkiv anti-Maidan activists gathered at the other end of the street and demanded that radicals be given to them.
Everything began with an incident at the Svobody (Freedom) Square, where pro-Russian rallies are traditionally held and where a sort of headquarters of anti-Maidan movement activists is. A Volkswagen minivan arrived to the square at a huge speed and squibs were thrown from its windows. Then the vehicle left, citizens found it at 18 Rymarska Street and attempted to enter the building, having armed themselves with bats. In response fire was opened from the windows of the building.
"Shells and bottles with combustible mixture were thrown at virtually absolutely unarmed people and then shooting began. Small and quite intensive shots," a witness said.
Two activists were killed on site and two were injured, the correspondent reported. The first police units, which arrived to the scene, were under fire as well. One policeman was injured seriously and is in intensive care unit now. Radicals, armed with shotguns, guns, bottles with combustible mixture and smoke grenades, barricaded themselves on the second floor. Kharkiv Mayor Hennadiy Kernes tried to initiate negotiations with them.
Extremists continued to shoot from windows for another hour. It is known that militants are in command by Andriy Beletskiy appointed to head force block in eastern Ukraine by Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, the Rossiya 24 reported.
Police were getting ready to storm but the order has not been given. Instead unarmed Kernes entered the building alone and exited it some time later. The demands of the militants became known - the authorities were to provide them with transport and an unobstructed opportunity to go to Poltava. It turned out that most armed nationalists are from Poltava, the TV channel reported.
Pro-EU Maidan activists had three hostages - two security guards of the office building and a policeman, they sustained no injuries.
The Kharkiv police have opened a criminal case under several articles - murder of two or more people, organizing mass disturbances, and making an attempt at the life of a policeman.
After the negotiations were completed, Right Sector militants were walked out of the building one by one and put into buses. Police managed to convince Kharkiv residents that rebels would be taken to jail and not released somewhere outside the city. Kernes said he personally promised this.
A criminal case has been opened under three articles of the Criminal Code over the shooting in the city center, Kharkiv Prosecutor Yevhen Popovych has told Interfax.
"The information has been submitted to the pre-trial single registry of investigations under the Ukrainian Criminal Code Article 115 Part 2 Sections 1, 5 and 15 [intentional murder of two persons committed by a group of people upon previous collusion and in a way endangering lives of many], Article 294 Part 2 [organizing mass disturbances, which led to casualties and other serious consequences], and Article 348 [making an attempt at the life of a law enforcement official]," Popovych said.
According to the Kharkiv prosecutor, as of now, two people have died and one - a police officer - has been injured in the shooting.
The shooting in central Kharkiv is a result of a well-planned provocation, Head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration Ihor Baluta said.
"I think that the events, which occurred at Rymarska Street in Kharkiv last night, are a well-planned provocation," Baluta told Interfax.
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