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DONETSK, May 11 /ITAR-TASS/. Industrialists will help put things right and restore the operation of metallurgical combines in the city of Mariupol in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine.
The Metinvest Group announced on Saturday its decision to “create, jointly with municipal police, people’s patrols from among smelters’ workers”. From Sunday, they will “start patrolling the city and protecting civilians,” says a joint statement by the heads of Metinvest, Ilyich Iron & Steel Works and Azovstal Iron & Steel Works - Yury Ryzhenkov, Yury Zinchenko and Enver Tkitishvili.
“Blood was shed in the city. This happened on Victory Day on May 9, a day that is holy for us,” they recalled. In their assessment, “the life of Mariupol is paralyzed, the city economy is being destroyed, and normal operation of metallurgical combines, which means not only work and salaries for city dwellers but the economic foundation of the Donetsk Region and entire Ukraine, has been disrupted.”
The heads of the industrial enterprises called “to reject the practice of conducting large-scale battles in peaceful cities of Donbas with participation of the armed forces, the use of hardware and armaments”, noting that “Ukrainian military must immediately leave the city”.
“The authorities still can and must hear the voice of Donbas residents. The authorities should ensure peace and quiet in cities for people to be able to quietly live and work,” the statement says.
Metinvest is one of the leading Ukrainian manufacturers of iron ore raw materials and hot-rolled plate. In November 2010, the company completed its merger with the ILyich Iron & Steel Works, which made it possible to double steelmaking production capacities to over 18.5 million tons annually.
In Mariupol, Ukrainian law enforcers opened fire from armored vehicles on participants of a rally held in honor of Victory Day on May 9 who gathered near the building of the local Interior Ministry department and who were trying to prevent its storm.
According to representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, at least 10 people died during the shooting. TV channels showed footage of law enforcers using armored vehicles against unarmed people, when people were hit by armored personnel carriers. The city council declared May 10 a day of mourning in Mariupol.
On Victory Day, May 9, Russia and other former Soviet republics marked the 69th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities, who were propelled to power in Kiev amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February, erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories after the secession of the Crimean Peninsula, which declared independence on March 11 and joined Russia on March 18 following a referendum.
Southeastern Ukrainian protesters demand broader powers for their regions. Demonstrators have seized some government buildings.
The Kiev authorities have been conducting what they call an antiterrorism operation in eastern Ukraine. Russia, which does not recognize the de facto Ukrainian leaders, has condemned the operation, apparently aimed to clamp down on Ukrainian nationals supporting federalization.
At least 46 people died on May 2 in clashes and a fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa after radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where pro-federalization activists hid, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian.