01:58 GMT12 April 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Gatherings to commemorate the killing of 48 people by Ukrainian extremists in the city of Odessa will be held in seven cities in the United States on the fourth anniversary of the incident on Wednesday, event coordinator Phil Wilayto told Sputnik.

    On May 2, 2014, supporters of the new government in Kiev chased anti-government protesters into Odessa's House of Trade Unions and set the building on fire. Forty-eight people burned to death while more than 250 others sustained injuries.

    "We need to get the attention of the world, particularly of media about what happened in Odessa," Wilayto said. "We are calling on everyone who is aware about the situation to do something on Wednesday, to go to the street with a sign showing solidarity with the people of Odessa."

    Wilayto explained that gatherings will be organized outside the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, DC; at Times Square in New York City; and near the Ukrainian consulate in San Francisco. Residents of — and visitors to — Minneapolis, Albany, Richmond and Blacksburg will also gather.

    Similar gatherings will also be organized in 13 countries in Europe, including in the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands, Wilayto said.

    The situation in Odessa is worse than before, Wilayto warned, and pointed out that several groups of Ukrainian extremists have announced plans to hold a rally in the city at the same time and place where families of the victims will gather.

    "It is a very dangerous situation," Wilayto said.

    The Ukrainian and US governments have not responded to the past rallies, but are very aware of them, he explained.

    "In 2014, when many international observers tried to visit Odessa, they were stopped in the airport or at the train stations and not allowed to enter the city. Three of us were able to get in," Wilayto said.

    Wilayto also pointed out that the Ukrainian authorities "have not cooperated with the United Nation’s Human Rights committee, European Union or any other international organizations that have tried to investigate the massacre."

    READ MORE: Suspects Behind 2014 Massacre in Ukraine’s Odessa Announce Hunger Strike

    Americans would be shocked to learn that the United States supports a government in Ukraine that has sympathized with infamous individuals like Stepan Bandera, the World War II pro-Nazi leader of Ukraine, he said.

    Wilayto concluded the Kiev government clearly wants to prevent an objective investigation into the incident in Odessa and extend cooperation as there have been a number of arrests but no criminal convictions have materialized.


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