Dozens of Ukrainian nationalists, including two lawmakers from the Self-Reliance party, marched on the presidential administration today to demand an end of what they perceive as coal smuggling, the Hromadske TV reported.
The angry mob, some of them wearing masks and carrying bats, ran into hundreds of riot police officers who blocked off government buildings. Clashes erupted when protesters hurled a firecracker at the police and sprayed them with a fire extinguisher.
One police officer and ten protesters were hurt in the scuffles. The officer suffered serious injuries, according to Kiev Police Department chief Andriy Hryshchenko. A medical worker said at least one demonstrator received a head injury.
Head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko said Thursday that Donbass would cope with the blockade organized by Ukrainian radicals, whereas for Kiev, the consequences would be serious, as in two weeks Kiev "can forget about heating and energy industry."
President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday condemned the blocking by Ukrainian radicals of coal deliveries from Donbass.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday, after meeting his counterparts from Germany, France and Ukraine in Munich, that the blockade of Donbas was unacceptable. German foreign policy chief Sigmar Gabriel echoed this statement, saying on behalf of the "Normandy Four" ministers that curbs on coal traffic in Ukraine hurt both sides.