Two people were killed overnight in Ukraine's Kharkov, where gunmen from the radical Right Sector movement attacked self-defense activists, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The armed group barricaded itself inside of the Right Sector's local headquarters, from where it was shooting and throwing flash grenades and Molotov cocktails at Kharkov anti-Maidan activists, who gathered outside.
"When pro-Russian activists tried to enter the building from the windows of the second floor Molotov cocktails were thrown into them and the shooting started," said the Interior ministry in a Saturday statement.
Besides the two people killed, at least four more were wounded in the shooting, authorities said. The armed group also took hostage three men – two activists and one policeman – who reportedly went inside to negotiate their surrender. Later, the hostages were released in a police operation.
Police deployed at the scene cordoned off the area and in the early hours of Saturday stormed the building. Around 30 gunmen were detained as a result.
“We have started to identify these people, as they don’t have passports with them,” Anatoly Dmitriev, the head of the Kharkov region police told Itar-Tass. “We’ll lift fingerprints from weapons, which are left inside the building.”
The incident reportedly began after a Kharkov self-defence group patrolling the city square noticed a suspicious Volkswagen van and tried to stop it. It was the same van involved in a shooting back on March 8, when one of the anti-Maidan activists was wounded.
When the driver refused to stop, LifeNews reports, activists chased the van to the building on Rymarska Street, where the office of Right Sector is located.
Numerous videos of the incident captured by the activists have been uploaded on YouTube.
Activist Sergey Yudaev who was live streaming the incident told RT that local authorities were apparently covering up the actions of Right Sector and trying to hide the fact that the group has a hideout with a cache of weapons in that building. Yudaev also confirmed the incident on March 8, when a group in that exact van attacked several peaceful activists who were returning from an anti-Maidan rally.
He added that it took activists almost 40 minutes to make the police respond to the call, since the new police chief appointed by the Kiev “junta” is covering up all crimes carried out by the Right Sector in Kharkov.
The local “junta controlled” media, Yudaev warned, have already twisted the story and tried to present it as an attack by Oplot movement on an office of some "political organization" that has nothing to do with Right Sector. But the group inside the building is anything but peaceful, Yudaev said, as videos clearly show Molotov cocktails being thrown at people standing outside.
On Thursday, bloody clashes in the city of Donetsk between rival rallies ended with a murder and multiple wounded. This proves those in power in Kiev do not control the situation in Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated, stressing Moscow reserves right to protect compatriots.