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Activists of Ukrainian nationalist party issue warning to Odessa deputies

June 09, 2015, 21:59 UTC+3 ODESSA
Deputies of the Odessa City Council have decided to discuss a possibility of immortalizing the memory of the people of Odessa who died in the May 2014 fire tragedy at a session that opens on Wednesday
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House of Trade Unions building in Odessa (archive)

House of Trade Unions building in Odessa (archive)

© Pavel Pakhomenko/TASS

ODESSA, June 9 /TASS/. Activists of Ukraine’s nationalist Svoboda party will storm the City Council in Odessa on June 10 to avert the unveiling of a memorial to the victims of a fire tragedy that occurred at the Odessa House of Trade Unions on May 2, 2014, Pavel Kirilenko, the head of Svoboda’s regional branch, warned on Tuesday.

Deputies of the Odessa City Council have decided to discuss a possibility of immortalizing the memory of the people of Odessa who died in the May 2014 fire tragedy at a session that opens on Wednesday.

"Their support for an absolutely anti-state project shows that the current city council does not have a Ukrainian foundation. Those who sit there are either open Kremlin agents - like the Rodina faction and a whole lot of former members of the Party of Regions pare hand - or unprincipled political speculators", Kirilenko said.

"The deputies still have time to quiet down and not to bring the situation to the one that occurred in December 2012 when the local nationalists decided to storm the City Council," the nationalist said.

Activists of the local Euromaidan movement have also threated the deputies with protests if they decide to erect a memorial to the victims of the May 2014 fire tragedy in Odessa.

The Odessa City Council included a draft resolution on immortalizing the memory of the May 2 tragedy in the agenda of the June session. The document was signed by deputies of the Rodina (Motherland) and Silnaya Ukraina (Strong Ukraine) faction; the Communist Party and another two political and public organizations. They called for giving a proper political and legal assessment to the May 2 events with an aim to avert the tragedy’s recurrence. The City Council’s department of architecture and town-planning has received an instruction to submit its proposals on perpetuate the memory of the dead Odessa residents to the deputies.

On May 2, 2014, combatants of the far-rightwing Right Sector movement, which the Russian authorities have banned as a radical organization, and the so-called ‘Maidan self-defence’ set ablaze a tent camp where the Odessites had been gathering signatures for giving Russian the status of a second state language.

Supporters of the demands for Ukraine’s federalization took shelter in the House of the Trade Unions, which was soon engulfed by fire of highly questionable origins. Ukrainian prosecution alleges that the people who gathered inside the building had put up a blazing barrier there to prevent the radicals from breaking into the facility.

In the meantime, numerous episodes of video footage from the site of the tragedy and eyewitness accounts suggest the building was set on fire after the mob on the street had starting hurling Molotov cocktails at it.

The antifascists trapped inside found themselves at bay, as the attacking radicals had set doorways of the building on fire. When the flames reached the upper stories of the Stalin-era edifice, many of the people stranded there died of suffocation.

As many as eight people died after falling out of the windows on the upper stories, Odessa region prosecutor Igor Borshulyak said.

The plight of those who survived the ordeal inside the building was rather unenviable all the same as they were subjected to brutal clubbing by the proponents of the Kiev authorities. -

The United Nations has described as inadequate the Ukrainian authorities’ actions to investigate the killings that took place on Kiev’s Independence Square and the House of Trade Unions in Odessa last year.

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