Ukraine mayor shot; US annnounces sanctions

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Ukraine mayor shot; US annnounces sanctions
DONETSK, UKRAINE - APRIL 28: A pro-Russian activist gets medical attention after a clash with pro-government activists during a rally and march on April 28, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Several people were injured when the pro-Russian activists attacked a pro-government march. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SLOVYANSK, UKRAINE - APRIL 28: Armed man in military fatigue standing guard outside a regional administration building of eastern Ukrainian city Slovyansk talks to a local Ukrainian boy on April 28, 2014 in Slovyansk, Ukraine. (Photo by Ilya Pitalev/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
SLOVYANSK, UKRAINE - APRIL 28: Armed men in military fatigues stand guard outside a regional administration building of eastern Ukrainian city Slovyansk, seized by pro-Russian separatists on April 28, 2014 in Slovyansk, Ukraine. (Photo by Ilya Pitalev/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - APRIL 28: A Molotov cocktail lays next spots of blood after pro-Russian activist clashed with pro-government activists during a rally and march on April 28, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Several people were injured when the pro-Russian activists attacked a pro-government march. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - APRIL 28: A pro-Russian activist gets medical attention after a clash with pro-government activists during a rally and march on April 28, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Several people were injured when the pro-Russian activists attacked a pro-government march. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Police detain an alleged Pro-Russia militant after pro-Russia militants attacked a rally for Ukrainian national unity in the eastern Ukrainan city of Donetsk on April 28, 2014. Fourteen people were wounded on April 28 when pro-Russia militants wielding baseball bats, iron bars and knives attacked a rally for national unity in the east Ukrainian city of Donetsk, according to journalists and local authorities. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - APRIL 28: A wounded pro-Russian activist joins back with other activists after clashing with pro-government supporters during a rally and march on April 28, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Several people were injured when the pro-Russian activists attacked a pro-government march. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A pro-Russian activist is seen while doctors cure his wounds after clashing with pro-Ukrainian activists during a pro Ukraine rally in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. About a thousand pro-Russian activists armed with sticks and steel rods attacked the participants of pro-Ukrainian rally in center of Donetsk. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
A bloodied man awaits medical assistance after he was beaten by pro-Russian activists in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. About a thousand pro-Russian activists armed with sticks and steel rods attacked the participants of pro-Ukrainian rally in center of Donetsk. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A pro Russia masked man is seen while protecting the stage during a pro Russia rally at Lenin square in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 27, 2014. Insurgents in Slovyansk have taken a number of people hostage, including journalists and pro-Ukraine activists, as they strengthen their control in the east of the country in defiance of the interim government in Kiev and its Western supporters.(AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
FILE - In this Feb. 22. 2014 file photo, Kharkiv mayor Hennady Kernes speaks at the congress of provincial lawmakers and officials in the Ukrainian eastern city of Kharkiv. Kernes was shot in the back Monday morning, April 28, 2014, his office said. Kernes was said to be undergoing surgery and "doctors are fighting for his life," according to the city hall. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)
In this April 12, 2014 photo Hennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv, takes part in a marathon in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Kernes was shot in the back Monday morning, April 28, 2014, his office said. Kernes was said to be undergoing surgery and "doctors are fighting for his life," according to the city hall. (AP Photo/Olga Ivashchenko)
In this Feb. 22, 2014 photo Hennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv, takes part at a meeting in Kharkiv city hall, in Ukraine. Kernes was shot in the back Monday morning, April 28, 2014, his office said. Kernes was said to be undergoing surgery and "doctors are fighting for his life," according to the city hall. (AP Photo/Olga Ivashchenko)
Vacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk speaks to the media in front of a city hall, Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Armed insurgents tacitly backed by Moscow are seeking more autonomy in the region _ possibly even independence or annexation with Russia. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Local residents lay down sandbags to form a barricade at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Local residents fill sandbags to form a barricade at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Pro Russian masked armed men guard at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Pro Russian masked armed men guard at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A local boy plays with a toy gun as a group of journalists wait for Vacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in front of a city hall, Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. As Western governments vowed to impose more sanctions against Russia and its supporters in eastern Ukraine, a group of foreign military observers remained in captivity Saturday accused of being NATO spies by a pro-Russian insurgency. The German-led, eight-member team was traveling under the auspices of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe when they were detained Friday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Pro-Russian armed men speak to a local citizen in a wheelchair in front of a city hall, Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. As Western governments vowed to impose more sanctions against Russia and its supporters in eastern Ukraine, a group of foreign military observers remained in captivity Saturday accused of being NATO spies by a pro-Russian insurgency. The German-led, eight-member team was traveling under the auspices of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe when they were detained Friday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Vacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, center, speaks to the media in front of a city hall, Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Armed insurgents tacitly backed by Moscow are seeking more autonomy in the region _ possibly even independence or annexation with Russia. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A pro Russian masked armed man sits on the barricades in front of the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A pro Russian activist distributes St. George Ribbon to militants at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Pro Russian masked armed men tie St. George Ribbon to each other as they guard at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Local residents fill sandbags to form a barricade at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Masked pro-Russian activists block the office of a "Privatbank" bank, owned by a businessman who is considered to back the new pro-western government in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Text on the placard reads: "Accomplice of fascism". Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Masked pro-Russian activists block the office of a "Privatbank" bank, owned by a businessman who is considered to back the new pro-western government in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A masked pro-Russian activist places a self-proclaimed 'Donetsk Republic' flag over the office of a "Privatbank" bank, owned by a businessman who is considered to back the new pro-western government in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A masked pro-Russian activist block the office of a "Privatbank" bank, owned by a businessman who is considered to back the new pro-western government in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Masked pro-Russian activists block the office of a "Privatbank" bank, owned by a businessman who is considered to back the new pro-western government in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Masked pro-Russian activists block the office of a "Privatbank" bank, owned by a businessman who is considered to back the new pro-western government in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Masked pro-Russian activists block the office of a "Privatbank" bank, owned by a businessman who is considered to back the new pro-western government in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Masked pro-Russian activists block the office of a "Privatbank" bank, owned by a businessman who is considered to back the new pro-western government in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A pro Russian masked armed man listens to local resident as he guards at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A pro Russian masked armed man uses binoculars as he guards outside city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
In this photo released by Britain's RAF, one of Britain's Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft lifts off from an RAF base near Lincoln, England, Monday April 28, 2014, deployed to take part in the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The UK fast jets will reinforce the Polish contribution to provide NATO air policing over Baltic member states. Tensions in eastern Baltic states have escalated in response to the continued unstable situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo / RAF, Cpl Phil Major (RAF))
A woman looks at portraits of pro-Russia militia members killed during clashes with the Ukrainian Army attached to the pedestal of the monument of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin in Slovyansk, Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014. Armed pro-Russian insurgents are seeking increased autonomy in the eastern region of Ukraine, from the interim government in Kiev. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A pro Russian masked armed man guards at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A pro Russian masked armed man guards at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Pro Russian masked armed men guard at the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- The mayor of Ukraine's second-largest city was shot in the back Monday and hundreds of men attacked a peaceful pro-Ukraine rally with batons, bricks and stun grenades, wounding dozens as tensions soared in Ukraine's volatile east.

One presidential candidate said the mayor was deliberately targeted in an effort to destabilize the entire city of Kharkiv, a hub of 1.5 million people.

Armed insurgents tacitly backed by Moscow are seeking more autonomy in eastern Ukraine - and possibly even independence or annexation with Russia. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion.

Ratcheting up the pressure, President Barack Obama's government levied new sanctions Monday on seven Russian officials and 17 companies with links to President Vladimir Putin's inner circle. The U.S. also revoked licenses for some high-tech items that could be used by the Russian military.

In Brussels, the European Union moved Monday to add 15 more officials to its Russian sanctions list to protest Moscow's meddling in Ukraine. That decision, reached by the ambassadors to the EU's 28 nations, was being formally confirmed by the EU's governments, officials told The Associated Press.

In the eastern city of Donetsk, about 1,000 demonstrators carrying Ukrainian flags marched through the streets to hold a pro-Ukrainian rally Monday night. They were attacked by several hundred armed men shouting "Russia!"

Police attempted to hold the pro-Russia men back but then largely stood aside as dozens of protesters were battered.

Hennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv, was shot in the back Monday morning while cycling on the outskirts of the city, his office said. He underwent surgery and was reported by the hospital to be in "grave but stable" condition.

Officials have not commented on who could be behind the attack on the mayor - but Kernes was a man who could have angered both sides.

Kernes' friend and former Kharkiv governor, Mykhailo Dobkin, told journalists the attackers had aimed at Kernes' heart and wanted to kill him to destabilize the city

"If you want to know my opinion, they were shooting not at Kernes, but at Kharkiv," he said.

Dobkin is among several candidates running in Ukraine's May 25 presidential election, which the interim government says Russia is trying to derail.

Kernes was a staunch opponent of the pro-West Maidan movement that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February and was widely viewed as the organizer who sent activists from eastern Ukraine to harass demonstrators in Kiev.

But he has softened his stance toward the new Kiev government. At a meeting of eastern Ukrainian leaders and acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk earlier this month, Kernes insisted he does not support the armed pro-Russia insurgents and backed a united Ukraine.

Kharkiv is in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia gunmen have seized government buildings and police stations and set up roadblocks to demand greater autonomy or even annexation by Russia. But unlike the neighboring Donetsk region, Kharkiv had been largely unaffected by the insurgency - something Kernes has been credited with. Its administration building was briefly seized earlier this month but promptly cleared of pro-Russia protesters.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the attack on Kernes, along with other events, "indicates that it isn't possible to speak of any `peaceful' pre-election campaign in Ukraine."

Elsewhere in the east, pro-Russia militants wearing masks gained another foothold, seizing a city hall building and police station in the city of Kostyantynivka, 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the Russian border. The city is 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, a major city that has been in the hands of insurgents for more than three weeks.

After the seizure, about 15 armed men guarded the city hall building. Some posed for pictures with residents while others distributed St. George's ribbons, the symbol of the pro-Russia movement.

Moscow has repeatedly pushed for a referendum on federal autonomy in Ukraine, but Kiev and its Western allies have refused, accusing Russia of fomenting separatist sentiment to foil the May presidential vote.

However, Justice Minister Petro Petrenko said the parliament in Kiev will hold a debate Tuesday on the idea of a referendum, Interfax news agency reported.

The increasingly ruthless pro-Russia insurgency, meanwhile, is turning to an ominous new tactic: kidnapping. About 40 people are being held hostage in makeshift jails in Slovyansk - including journalists, pro-Ukraine activists and seven military observers from the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, Ukraine's Security Service said Monday.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the capture of the military observers, demanded their immediate release and urged any U.N. members with influence to work to help end their detention.

Russia's Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, called Ukraine's efforts to detain pro-Russia activists the "mass persecution of dissenters." It also said Ukraine was building large temporary detention centers to hold these prisoners.

"Those structures being constructed very much remind one of fascist concentration camps," the Russian statement said.

Read Full Story

People are Reading

The Latest from our Partners
1 - 3 of 15