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Ukraine declares February 20 day of mourning for victims of Kiev riots

February 19, 2014, 14:49 UTC+3 KIEV

The latest reports put the death toll in Kiev at 24; 751 victims were wounded

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KIEV, February 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine has declared February 20 Day of mourning for the victims killed in Kiev during the recent days of the standoff between the authorities and the opposition. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich signed a corresponding decree.

“Twenty-four people were killed and 751 were wounded in clashes between law enforcers and the radical forces of the opposition since Tuesday afternoon,” Deputy chief of the head Investigative Department of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry Oleg Tatarov told Itar-Tass.

The protesters who belong to the radical wing of the opposition had been shooting at law enforcers from firearms and traumatic guns, targeting at the victims' heads. Five Ukrainian servicemen were shot dead in the head and neck, a representative of the Ukrainian law enforcers said.

Acting Defense Minister Pavel Lebedev has ordered to transfer the 25th Airborne troops unit from Dnepropetrovsk to Kiev, Lebedev told Itar-Tass on Wednesday. But, the Ukrainian top brass has denied that the troops had been transferred in order to disperse the rally in Kiev by force.

Chairman of the parliament of the Republic of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov said that three more servicemen of Crimean Berkut riot police were killed and 30 more Crimean servicemen were hospitalized in Kiev, suffering from wounds of a different degree of seriousness. “The opposition leaders' ambitions to seize power no matter whatever the cost might be turned into bloodshed on Tuesday, The Crimean people were among the victims,” Konstantinov said.

Acting Prime Minister Sergei Arbusov declared on Wednesday that the Ukrainian protesters were a disgrace to Ukraine. The society is indignant; it had expected a civilized settlement of its painful problems within the building of the parliament, rather than in street riots and under threat of force. I feel both sorrow and horror, realizing that yesterday’s clashes caused human death. I want to express my condolences to families of the victims, Arbusov said.

The latest reports put the death toll in Kiev at 24; 751 victims were wounded.

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