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Nationalists spoil WWII victory celebrations in Ukraine

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The usually jubilant atmosphere at World War II victory day celebrations in Ukraine was dampened when fights broke out between nationalists and veterans in the western city of Lvov.

The usually jubilant atmosphere at World War II victory day celebrations in Ukraine was dampened when fights broke out between nationalists and veterans in the western city of Lvov.

Members of the Svoboda (Freedom) nationalist organization trod on a wreath that the city's Russian consul general planned to lay on tombs of soldiers who died during World War II.

Victory Day, celebrated on May 9, marks the final defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union in World War II, known in Russia and some former Soviet republics as the Great Patriotic War.

Ukrainian nationalists say Soviet war-time leader Joseph Stalin imposed just as much suffering on Ukraine as Nazi Germany.

A victory parade was held in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Monday.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who spoke at a rally in downtown Kiev, said: "The victory over fascism is our festival that unites the Ukrainian people."

He warned nationalists against attempts to sow discord in society. "For the sake of cheap popularity, some activists are again trying to split Ukrainians," he said, adding that the government would "properly respond" to such actions.

MOSCOW, May 10 (RIA Novosti)

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