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    Ukrainian riot police officers block supporters of far-right parties who tried to prevent the Immortal Regiment march, during the Victory Day celebrations in Kiev, Ukraine

    Limited Victory Day Celebrations in Ukraine Shaded by Clashes With Radicals

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    2017 WWII Victory Day Celebrations (77)
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    The 72nd anniversary of the Great Victory was marred in Ukraine by provocations and clashes with radical nationalists, as well as by attempts to block the "Immortal Regiment" march.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The scope of official celebrations of the Victory Day was rather limited this year, almost restricting to the country's President Petro Poroshenko laying flowers at the Grave of an Unknown Soldier in the Park of Eternal Glory in the Ukrainian capital.

    'Immortal regiment' in Kiev

    The "Immortal Regiment" march, a commemorative action during which people carry photos of their ancestors who participated in World War II, turned out to be a central event of the Victory Day. The marches took place in multiple Ukrainian cities, while the biggest one was held in Kiev, with some 3,000 people having participated in the action.

    As the Ukrainian radicals announced their intention to derail the campaign, the Kiev police tightened up security at the Park of Eternal Glory, a final destination of the march. Nevertheless, a group of people blocked the entrance to the park, while some other radicals gathered at the Eternal Flame memorial, preventing the march participants from laying flowers, which finally led to clashes between the sides.

    Radicals also threw bags with paint, eggs and smoke grenades into the march' participants, as well as sprayed fire extinguishers. The actions led to injuries among participants, journalists and police officers.

    At the same time the participants of the commemorative event were not allowed to hold traditional symbols of the Victory Day — the Victory banner and the Saint George ribbons. The Victory banner, unlike Saint George ribbons, has been officially forbidden in Ukraine since 2015.

    According to a Sputnik correspondent, the police detained several people who were attempting to unfold a Victory banner next to the Eternal Flame site in the Park of Eternal Glory. The police officers tried to seize the banner when a man wanted to unfold it, but several others rushed to help him, which led to an altercation. The exact number of the detainees is unknown. Earlier in the day, the police also detained a man holding a banner in the colors of the ribbon of Saint George.

    Clashes throughout Ukraine

    The celebration events in other Ukrainian cities were also marred by clashes and provocations. According to Ukrainian Interior Ministry spokesman Artem Shevchenko, the Ukrainian police arrested over 50 people all over the country on Tuesday, while up to 15 participants of campaigns and eight policemen were injured in clashes.

    For instance, participants of the "Immortal Regiment" march and radicals clashed in the city of Kharkiv. According to the UNIAN news agency, the participants of the march were chanting 'Fascism will not pass,' singing Soviet songs and during the performance of one of the songs, a brawl began. It took 50 law enforcement officers in helmets with batons to break it up.

    In Odessa, the clashes occurred at the memorial Alleya Slavy (the Avenue of Glory), with 15 people detained as a result. The altercations were triggered by a portrait of Roman Shukhevych, the general of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), outlawed in Russia, brought to the memorial.

    The "Immortal Regiment" march in the nearby city of Mykolaiv was also overshadowed by clashes and arguments, while at least two people were reportedly detained there for carrying St. George ribbons.

    Several altercations also occurred in the Ukrainian towns of Zhytomyr and Melitopol.

    A total of 14 people were injured in clashes at the WWII commemoration event, which took place at the monument of Eternal Glory in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk). Another 15 people were detained.

    Situation held under control

    Despite multiple clashes across the country, the police said that the situation was held under control.

    According to Ukrainian Interior Ministry, some 50,000 people took part in celebrations on occasion of the Victory Day in Ukraine, while the order was maintained by 30,000 law enforcement officers.

    "Celebrations across the country are held in the normal mode. Of course, there were clashes in Odessa, Zaporizhia, Dnipro and Kiev. Police, the National Guard are working, the situation is under control," Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Yarovoy said.

    Victory parade in Eastern Ukraine

    The Victory parades, though, took place in the Eastern Ukraine, in the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics (LPR and DPR). The Donbas residents also held "Immortal regiment" marches.

    The Victory Parade in Donetsk was shaded by the Ukrainian military shelling. The Ukrainian troops fired about 70 shells at the village of Bezimenne in the south of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

    2017 WWII Victory Day Celebrations (77)


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