MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) – Three people dead, thirteen other injured in a confrontation between anti-government protesters and soldiers at a military unit in the Ukraine’s southeastern city of Mariupol, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Thursday.
“According to preliminary information, there are three dead and 13 injured among the attackers with 63 [activists] detained. Weapons have been seized,” Avakov wrote on his Facebook page.
One armed group is being investigated by police patrolling the street, he said.
Ukraine’s security service and police are conducting a joint operation in Mariupol with one helicopter being transferred there, the official said.
A group of protesters arrived at the military unit in Mariupol on Wednesday evening and called on troops to abandon the base. Violent clashes had begun after the army refused to cooperate.
The Ukrainian army started a special operation Tuesday in a crackdown on self-defense activists in eastern Ukraine. According to unconfirmed reports at least four protesters were killed wounded Tuesday as Ukrainian troops stormed an airfield in Kramatorsk, local pro-federalization supporters said.
Eastern Ukraine has been swept by rallies beginning last month. Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and are urging interim authorities to hold referendums similar to the one held in Crimea last month, which led to the republic's reunification with Russia.
Russia condemned the decision by the new Ukrainian authorities to use force against the federalization supporters, saying it was an extremely unpleasant turn of events.