“Placed at the checkpoints today are officers of the Odessa police,” regional governor Ihor Palitsya said. “There are no representatives of public associations or self-defense forces there.”
May 2, extremist combatants from the Right Sector and the Maidan self-defense forces organized a street march that grew over into riots and rampages, which eventually took away the lives of 48 people.Governor Palitsya said that the checkpoints had been reinforced by Army commandoes and the authorities were gradually replacing the latter by marines, as the paratroopers were leaving for the Donetsk region, currently the stage of amassed popular protests in favor of federalization of Ukraine.
Addressing Odessa public representatives earlier, Palitsya spoke in favor of removing the radicals from city streets.
“As for today’s radicals, there is no place for them on city streets,” he said. “That’s my personal attitude to the Right Sector. I think the grouping was fully pre-paid by some people with very definite objectives.
“There were no ideas there (in the Right Sector),” Palitsya said. “There’s been nothing except provocations wherever they have appeared.”
The then chief of the Odessa Interior department, Petro Lutsyuk, who was dismissed from the post after the May 2 tragedy, demanded removal of the Right Sector combatants from the city on the eve of the events.
“Large numbers of people who are not supervised by anyone have accumulated in Kiev and that’s why a decision has been taken there to send them to Odessa,” Lutsyuk said April 4 as he addressed deputies of the regional council. “We don’t need this kind of assistance. They’ve come here and they’re creating an unstable situation.”
He told the legislators about the conflicts erupting between the militants and Odessa residents, as well as about a cache of weapons and munitions they had brought along with them to the city.
However, the then governor Vladimir Nemirovsky, who had been appointed by Kiev, claimed the militants’ presence in the city was necessary “for controlling the police.”
Secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council Andriy Parubiy came to Odessa after that. He met with the militants and handed ballistic jackets and other types of military equipment to them.
May 2, Right Sector combatants, units of the Maidan self-defense forces and notorious football fans from Kharkov organized a street march that triggered street unrest, as a result of which the radicals set fire to a tent camp on Kulikovo Field square where the gathering of signatures for a referendum on federalization of Ukraine and for making Russian a second state language was underway.
The activists staying on the camp took shelter in the nearby House of the Trade Unions that was also set on fire by the assaulting radicals. The fire and the combatants’ atrocities inside the building that followed left 48 people dead and more than 200 others wounded.