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State Duma speaker and Council of Europe chief call for investigating crimes in Odessa

December 02, 2015, 20:37 UTC+3
"The Minsk agreements were also part of agenda. They require Kiev to carry out a constitutional reform and adopt other legislative acts," Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said
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People commemorating victims of the 2 May 2014 trade unions building fire in Odessa

People commemorating victims of the 2 May 2014 trade unions building fire in Odessa

© Mikhail Sokolov//TASS

MOSCOW, December 2 /TASS/. Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, who spoke by the phone on Wednesday, called for exercising control over investigation into crimes committed in Odessa, southern Ukraine, on May 2, 2014, the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament said on its website.

"The sides stressed the importance of the Council of Europe’s efforts to control the course of investigation into the well-known crimes committed during the ‘maidan’ protests in Kiev (the capital of Ukraine) and in Odessa - up to the announcement of court verdicts on respective criminal cases," the Russian State Duma said in its press release.

"The Minsk agreements were also part of agenda. They require Kiev to carry out a constitutional reform and adopt other legislative acts," Naryshkin said.

Activists of the anti-maidan protest movement, who set up a tent camp on the Kulikovo Polye (Kulikovo field) Square in Odessa in the spring of 2014, started collecting signatures in support of a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and in favour of making Russian the second state language in Ukraine. Radicals from the Right Sector extremist movement, the so-called ‘maidan self-defense force" (outlawed in Russia), and football fans from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov arrived in Odessa on May 2, 2014. The first clashes with the anti-maidan protesters occurred near Greek Square in the centre of Odessa and later moved to the Kulikov Polye tent camp.

The Euromaidan activists destroyed the tent camp, while the federalization supporters found shelter in the local House of Trade Unions. The radicals, however, surrounded the building and set it on fire. They beat the opponents who were trying to escape the burning building to death.

Forty-eight people died in the House of Trade Unions fire. More than 200 were injured. Twenty-one people, 10 of whom were kept in a pre-trial detention ward, were arrested in connection with the Odessa fire case. However, the investigation, which was carried out both by deputies and law enforcers, has failed to name the criminals responsible for the tragedy. The investigators believe that the mass riots in Odessa had been pre-planned.

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