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KHARKOV, February 23, 3:33 /ITAR-TASS/. ass) - Reports about an attempt to seize the building housing the regional administration in Kharkov, a city in north-eastern Ukraine, are not consistent with the reality, Itar-Tass reports from the site, saying the situation outside the building is calm and police are on a routine duty.
However, an Itar-Tass correspondent witnessed a group of no more than 20 people near the entrance, some of them armed with batons. A police car is on duty near another administration building - the regional council.
Meanwhile, the city lives its routine life. The international airport of Kharkov operates in accordance with schedule. Despite developments in Ukraine, foreigners are not afraid of visiting the city. One third of passengers on a flight from Moscow on Saturday were foreigners.
Local fuel stations function as usual, and gasoline prices remain stable, Tass reports. “There have been no problems at filling stations, and the situation with fuel in the city is normal,” a local taxi driver told Tass. Stores operate without disruption, and there has been no deficit of foodstuffs or a surge in prices.
Kharkov restaurants work till late into the night as usual on weekends. However, one of the cafes located near the regional administration building closed three hours earlier following rumours about possible unrest in the city during the night. “Besides, a crowd of protesters passed by the restaurant today, after which we decided to close it,” a cafe administrator said.
However, despite the seeming tranquility one cannot say for sure what may happen within the coming few hours. The head of the public relations department at the Kharkov city council, Yuri Sidorenko, told Tass earlier that protesters had announced for Sunday demolition of a statue of Lenin, the leader of the 1917 revolution.
Earlier local media reports said protesters had entered the regional state administration building in Kharkov. According to reports, some 30 people had entered the building for “inspection”. On Saturday, deputies to the chairman of the Kharkov regional administration Yuri Sapronov and Oleg Anpilogov resigned from their posts “at their own request,” the site of the administration reported.