At Least 30 Dead in Clashes Between Pro-Ukrainians and Pro-Russians in Odessa, Ukraine

At Least 30 Dead in Clashes Between Pro-Ukrainians and Pro-Russians in Odessa, Ukraine

May 2 was the most violent and deadly day in Ukraine since the Euromaidan protests began in November 2013. Between 30-40 people were killed in Odessa after pro-Ukrainians and pro-Russians clashed.

As Maxim Eristavi points out, it was “the darkest day since the February massacre in Kyiv.”

Odessa exploded in the late afternoon after the two groups met in the middle of the street. Blogger Nikolai Holmav and reporter Howard Amos are in Odessa and witnessed the entire fight. It is hard to put into words the violence experienced in Odessa; Amos’s pictures speak louder than any words. He documented the violence as it escalated throughout the day.

Amos said there were Molotov cocktails, and pro-Ukranians took a fire engine.

It did not take long for Amos to witness injuries.

People were using makeshift weapons along with the firearms. There were not many police to prevent either side from attacking.

Amos reported that riot police showed up but showed no effort to stop the violence.

Central Odessa calmed down a few hours later as the pro-Ukraine crowd headed to the pro-Russian camp.

Amos and Holmov reached the pro-Russian camp 20 minutes later and reported seeing fire from their tents.

Then the pro-Ukraine crowd headed to the trade union building, which has been occupied by pro-Russian forces. The trade union building in Kyiv became a symbol of the Euromaidan protests after it was torched. As the pro-Ukraine crowd moved forward, the pro-Russians attacked them from the rooftop.

Pro-Ukrainians eventually forced their way inside, and shortly thereafter fires broke out in the building.

Then Amos found dead bodies. He also saw one man fall from a window who was trying to reach for a rope to leave the burning building.

Pro-Ukrainians dragged out the pro-Russians, where they proceeded to beat them. Afterwards, the pro-Russians were loaded into police vans.

The violence finally ended around 9:30 p.m. local time. Amos reported there were men with baseball bats under a bridge who asked people if they were with Odessa or Moscow; the correct answer was “Odessa.”

At the conclusion of the violence, the only people left were the ones who perished and the medical examiners sent to examine the bodies.

The next three days are days of mourning in Odessa.