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Russian top diplomat blasts European media coverage of Odessa tragedy

May 05, 2015, 15:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
At least 48 people were reported dead and 247 injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House that happened in Odessa a year ago, on May 2, 2014
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. European media provide poor and biased coverage of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, including Euronews channel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"Euronews channel, which I often cite since Russia is one of its shareholders, made a very short report devoted to the Odessa tragedy," Lavrov said. "According to the report ‘Odessa commemorated events, which resulted in casualties among peaceful residents following clashes between supporters and opponents of Euromaidan.’ Then, within a 15-seconds interval a female voice reported in a politically polite manner that ‘We all stand for Europe and there must be no obstructions.’ Then a male voice continued for another 15 seconds saying ‘We are against Maidan because we do not want people to be separated.’ That was it."

"In other words there were casualties ‘as a result clashes between supporters and opponents,’ but there was not a word about the fact that people were burnt alive and targeted fire was opened against those jumping out of the windows of the building ablaze," the top Russian diplomat said.

"It was all [presented] as it was an ordinary cause," Lavrov said, adding he hoped that that Kiev authorities would get the notion of the necessity "to fully and unbiasedly investigate into all committed crimes, including the case of Maidan snipers, the Odessa [fire], Mariupol [shelling] and Malaysian Boeing [airplane crash]."

Odessa Tragedy

The city of Odessa witnessed riots on May 2, 2014, when soccer fans from other cities, as well as Right Sector militants and so-called "Maidan self-defense" representatives from Kiev organized a march along city streets. Clashes with federalization supporters occurred during the march.

Radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where their opponents hid, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian. The attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building.

At least 48 people were reported dead and 247 injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House. Some Ukrainian politicians asserted that the death toll reached 116 but that the Kiev authorities concealed the facts. Investigators have so far failed to name those guilty of the crime.

Over 20 people have been charged with organizing the riots in Odessa. Eleven of them are in detention and eleven more are still on the wanted list. Meanwhile, investigators failed to prove that the arson of the Trade Unions House was planned in advance.

Odessa’s Malinovsky district court sent the indictment back to the Prosecutor General’s Office for further investigation, pointing out that the indictment accusing 22 persons of involvement in the tragic events of May 2 lacked details and factual evidence of the suspects’ guilt.

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