Fierce Clashes As Ukraine MPs Back Autonomy For Rebels

Firecrackers and petrol bombs were hurled at the lines of national guardsmen.
Firecrackers and petrol bombs were hurled at the lines of national guardsmen.

Firecrackers and petrol bombs were hurled at the lines of national guardsmen.

At least 90 people, mainly police were wounded in fierce clashes outside the Ukrainian parliament on Monday as lawmakers gave initial backing to deeply controversial reforms granting more autonomy to pro-Russian separatists. A loud blast was heard outside the parliament building in Kiev and vast clouds of smoke billowed into the air as demonstrators fired off what security forces said were live grenades shortly after MPs backed the first reading of the constitutional amendments. Riot police in helmets and armed with batons were seen clashing with demonstrators. Interior Ministry advisors and top lawmaker Anton Grerashchenko said attackers had thrown a hand grenade at National Guard troops in what he called an “act of provocation.” Some of the injured were bleeding and lying down on the ground in front of the parliament. Many suffered injuries to their arms and legs. Protesters also fired at least one smoke grenade that sent up a thick cloud of smoke outside the building. The constitutional reforms are required under the terms of the western backed deal in the Belarussian capital Minsk, which called on Kiev’s to implement “decentralisation” by the end of this year. But critics have branded the moves “un-Ukrainian.” The reform bill grants more powers to regional and local lawmakers including in the eastern areas currently under rebel control. But contrary to the expectations of separatists, it does not definitely hand the largely industrial eastern region the semi autonomous status that the insurgents are seeking. According to the text of the draft legislation, the region’s status needs to be defined a separate law.

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Chukwunonso Azinge is a Public health parasitologist whose variety of intrests ranges from international news reportage, writing articles on current world issues and of course football. Follow me on Twitter @azingelfc and on Facebook- Nonso 'King Kenny' Azinge.

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