To fully understand the ongoing situation in Odessa, RT spoke with anti-Kiev protesters who were attacked and trapped inside the Trade Unions House by members of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector group on Friday.
The activists who were trapped on the roof of the besieged Trade Unions House building have been rescued and taken to a police station, the self-proclaimed head of the Republic of Odessa told Rossiya 24.
39 anti-government activists died in a fire at the Trade Unions House, according to the Ukrainian emergencies agency. Some of the victims burned to death, while others suffocated from smoke or jumped out of the building's windows, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported. Another 40 people were injured, including 10 police officers.
Graphic video showing the aftermath of the fire:
RT spoke with two activists who were caught up in the horrific attack by the ultra-nationalist Right Sector against anti-government protesters.
Deputy of the regional council and mayoral candidate Aleksey Albu was brutally beaten by Right Sector radicals after he escaped the burning Trade Unions House.
“Militants from the Right Sector arrived from Kharkov to Odessa today. They attacked the center of the city first and then they moved on to the anti-Kiev protesters camp,” Albu told RT via telephone while in the hospital. “They attacked the camp with about 200 people there – 100 of whom were women and men over 50 and 60 years of age – with Molotov cocktails.”
“The people at the camp then barricaded themselves inside the Trade Unions House,” Albu said.
The Right Sector radicals then surrounded the building and “began throwing stun grenades and tear gas into the building...I was there inside the building and took part in the defense. We tried to defend ourselves as much as we could,” he added.
“When we were finally able to jump out of the window from the second floor, we were met by the Right Sector radicals. They beat us with their feet using bats and chains. My friend got an open head injury. I received a wound six centimeters long and am now in a hospital waiting to get stitches,” Albu stated.
“We were all covered in blood, our legs were beaten by bats,” he said.
He added that his injuries were minor, considering the situation.
Earlier, RT spoke with one of the activists who had been trapped on the roof of the Trade Unions House. He said that up to 50 people were there with him, including women and young men.
“We tried to close all doors and windows that lead to the roof, got rid of all ladders,” he told RT.
Various impersonators tried to come up, according to him, including people pretending to be rescuers and Interior Ministry troops. He said the activists on the roof were determined not to leave unless they received some guarantees they would leave alive.
The activist described radicals from the Right Sector blocking off the entrance onto the nearby street and special police just standing there as it happened.
“We are waiting and hoping that someone will come here and help us get out alive. If police are not defending us against this angry mob, then I don’t know how we will find a way to leave,” he said to RT while trapped on the roof.
Mayoral candidate Albu described the attack as being “a wake up call for Odessa” which could lead to very unpredictable consequences. Albu stated that the anti-Kiev demonstrations were peaceful, adding that the attack on protesters “will not go unanswered.”
A total of 46 people died in Odessa violence on Friday and almost 200 others sustained injuries, Odessa Region prosecutor Igor Borshulyak told journalists on Saturday.
In reference to the disturbing events, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said that such “actions are reminiscent of the crimes of the Nazis from whom the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists derive their ideological inspiration.”
Video footage from inside the building showed disturbing scenes of dead bodies lying around the rooms with thick smoke in the air and blood stains on the floor.
Most of the bodies filmed had St. George ribbons attached to their clothes, distinguishing them as anti-Kiev activists.