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Russia wants independent international investigation into Ukraine crimes

June 23, 2014, 18:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The document asking to establish an international people’s tribunal to assess events in Ukraine collected more than 40,000 signatures
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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Voitenko

MOSCOW, June 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Appealing to the United Nations and other international organizations to enquire into attacks on civilians in Ukraine’s city of Odessa should also help investigating other crimes committed in southeastern Ukraine, Deputy Speaker for Russia’s lower house of parliament Lyudmila Shvetsova said Monday.

On June 19, union representatives sent an appeal to the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights for international independent investigation into a massacre in Odessa, where dozens died in a fire started by Right Sector radicals and supporters from the Maidan Self-Defence Force.

The document asking to establish an international people’s tribunal to assess events in Ukraine collected more than 40,000 signatures. Among those who signed the appeal was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, the first spacewalker in the world, Alexei Leonov, a chess grandmaster and seven-time World Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov, and many other prominent cultural figures, social and political leaders, military officials, and heads of veterans organization and social associations.

“This will probably become the first viable instrument initiating investigations into other inhuman crimes in Ukraine’s southeast as well,” Shvetsova said, adding that union representatives were looking forward to a response to their appeal.

Unrest in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa started on May 2 in the afternoon, when football fans from the east Ukrainian city of Kharkov marched along city streets with Right Sector radicals and supporters from Kiev's Maidan Self-Defense Force.

Clashes broke out with campaigners seeking a referendum on the issue of Ukrainian federalization and Russian's official status as a state language.

At least 48 people died and more than 200 were injured in clashes in Odessa after radicals set ablaze the regional House of Trade Unions, where pro-federalization activists had taken refuge, and a tent camp near it where activists were collecting signatures in support of the referendum.

Some Ukrainian politicians say the clashes took the lives of at least 116 people. Kiev authorities seek to conceal exact figures.

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