Escalation in Ukraine
Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes, a one-time supporter of the ousted Ukrainian president who has since taken a more conciliatory approach to the new government, was shot in the back around noon local time and was rushed to a hospital for surgery.
“Doctors are fighting for his life. He is now in the emergency room undergoing an operation,” the council said in a statement on its website.
The statement offered no details about the circumstances of the shooting, but Zurab Alasania, the director general of Ukraine’s state-run National Television Company, wrote on his Facebook page that Mr. Kernes was shot while swimming in a local spring near Kharkiv.
Kharkiv had been an early target at the beginning of a pro-Russian separatist movement, in which mobs seized government buildings in the east of the country, but authorities had been successful in forcing the protesters out, unlike in other cities.
The colorful Mr. Kernes, 54 years old, was elected mayor in 2010, narrowly defeating Arsen Avakov, who is now Interior Minister. Mr. Avakov and his allies claimed the vote was rigged, which Mr. Kernes denied.
Mr. Kernes was a staunch ally of former President Viktor Yanukovych. During the antigovernment protests this winter, Mr. Avakov alleged that Mr. Kernes helped recruit gangs of civilians that were sent to Kiev to attack protesters. He denies this.
When Mr. Yanukovych fled at the end of February, Mr. Kernes briefly left the country before returning and adopting a softer tone toward new authorities. In March, he was placed under house arrest while police investigate alleged connections to kidnapping and threats.
The diminutive 54-year-old is known for his colorful lifestyle captured on his Instagram account where he posts photos of himself working out and posing with animals.
The usual confusion surrounding things in Ukraine
14:25 p.m. – Pro-Russian news outlet Vesti Ukrainy, citing deputy chairman of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration Yuriy Sapronov, reports that Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes, who was shot in the back around noon on April 28, has sustained injuries to his lung and liver.
Sapronov wrote on Facebook: “They shot him in the back from the forest. The injury is serious. His lung is pierced and his liver pierced all the way through.”
Doctors are still operating on Kernes.
Kharkiv city council spokesman Yuriy Sydorenko told reporters outside the hospital where the mayor is being treated that the apparent assassination attempt ”happened in Belgorodskiy highway between 11:30 a.m. and noon local time. He was riding a bicycle, and apparently there has been only one shot.”
In contrast to other news, Sydorenko said he had heard that Kernes’ vital organs are not affected because the bullet went through. – Isaac Webb, Christopher J. Miller
14:40 p.m. – Those who shot at Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes aimed at the heart, his friend and presidential candidate Mykhailo Dobkin says.
“I can say this shot was aimed to kill, to the heart . And I can say that there is no death only due to a happy coincidence,” Dobkin said.
“If you want my opinion, it was not a shot at Kernes it was a shot at Kharkiv,” Dobkin said. Kernes is currently in critical condition and cannot be transported, he said. Dobkin also said that the police found an ammunition case at the site of the shooting, mostly likely from a sniper gun. –Interfax-Ukraine
Conflicting reports about Kharkiv mayor’s injuries
Clashes in Donetsk
Peaceful rallies in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov turned violent as a crowd of several thousand football ultras attacked a crowd of some 300 anti-government protesters. At least 14 people were injured, including two law enforcement officers.
Thousands of fans of two Ukrainian football clubs Dnipro and Metalist gathered in Kharkov’s Constitution Square where they joined some 250 pro-Kiev activists holding a rally.
Up to 5,000 ultras, according to local media estimates, intended to march in support of the country’s unity from the square to Metalist stadium, which is some 3km away and where the game between the two clubs started, as scheduled, at 7:30pm local time (16:30 GMT).
The march started with Ukrainian anthem and drum-rolls. Football ultras, some equipped with burning torches and petards, were chanting “Glory to Ukraine. Glory to heroes!” and “Ukraine’s above all!”
According to local media, several groups from the Right Sector radical network also took part in the rally.
A massive fight erupted when the football ultras reached the street where the anti-Kiev protesters with St. George ribbons (the symbol of victory in WWII) were holding their rally in support of broader regional autonomy from Kiev.
Minutes before the violence erupted…
and then as violence erupted…
It got serious..
New toothless sanctions from the empire which include the CEO of Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft.
Seven officials have been sanctioned:
Oleg Belaventsev, Russian Presidential Envoy to the Crimean District; Member of the Russian Security Council
Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
Evgeniy Murov, Director of the Federal Protective Service of the Russian Federation; Army General
Aleksei Pushkov, Chairman of State Duma Committee on International Affairs
Igor Sechin, CEO Rosneft
Vyacheslav Volodin, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office
The following 17 Russian companies have been sanctioned:
Avia Group Ltd.
Avia Group Nord LLC
Abros Investment Co.
Transoil Volga Group — Isaac Webb
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