(Moscow) Over 10 people have died and around 40 have been injured after members of Right Sector opened fire on civilians in eastern Ukraine, the People’s Mayor of Slavyansk has said.
Civilians had reportedly formed a human chain to protect their village from members of the right-wing group. “In the village of Andreevka (suburb of Slavyansk) during the night people blocked entry to Right Sector members, forming a human chain along the road. Members of Right Sector opened fire, killing over 10 people,” The People’s Mayor of Slavyansk Vyacheslav Ponomarev told Russia’s Interfax news agency in a telephone conversation.
According to the People’s Mayor, members of Right Sector would not allow anyone to move the wounded and opened fire on people who tried to approach them. RT’s stringer, Graham Phillips, who is in Andreevka, said over 100 Ukrainian soldiers had set up camp in the village yesterday and had now left. He uploaded a video onto his YouTube feed showing the dead body of a man who had been shot dead by soldiers, according to local residents.
Vyacheslav Ponomarev was appointed People’s Mayor of Slavyansk after pro-federalization activists took control of the city on April 12. Over the last 24 hours there has been a dramatic escalation in violence in eastern Ukraine. Yesterday evening members of Right Sector set fire to the Trade Unions House in Odessa, killing at least 39 people and injuring a further 40, according to data from Ukraine’s Emergencies Ministry.
The neo-fascist group rose to prominence during the protests that preceeded the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in a coup d’etat in February. Since then, the group has adopted an extreme, anti-Russian stance and moved its headquarters from Kiev to the eastern city of Dnepropetrovsk “to prevent the spread of the Kremlin infection.”
Right Sector’s head Dmity Yarosh, who has been placed on an international most wanted terrorist list by Russia, announced the creation of a new squad of fighters called “Donbass” at the end of April. According to Yarosh, the group coordinates “all of our actions with the leadership of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security service of Ukraine.”
Kiev’s coup-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said Donbass will be incorporated into a new structure of special divisions aimed at bring the situation in eastern Ukraine under control.
Moscow has condemned the actions of Right Sector and called on the Kiev government to disassociate itself from extremist groups.