ODESSA, June 23. /TASS/. Anti-Ukrainian moods are growing in Ukraine’s southern city of Odessa, the leader of the Ukrainian Samopomich (Self Reliance) party based in western Ukraine said on Tuesday after meeting with the new governor of the Odessa region, former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili.
"Powerful anti-Ukrainian moods that are fuelled from outside against the background of deep poverty and region’s isolation, a very weak presence and influence of the Ukrainian state power in these regions," Odessa’s Timer online edition quoted Andriy Sadovyi as citing the reasons.
Sadovyi, mayor of the western city of Lviv, also said the Ukrainian authorities were fully unaware of how serious the situation was. In his remarks posted on a webpage after talks with Saakashvili, he urged the new Odessa leadership to take "swift and resolute moves towards integration of the region".
Among these measures he mentioned the construction of a highway connecting Odessa and Reni, a town in the Odessa region, that would "strengthen the presence of Ukraine in the region". In a conversation with Odessa journalists, the Lviv mayor also criticized local radical nationalists for wearing balaclavas.
"Wearing masks in the streets of peaceful cities is nonsense, especially when it refers to the feeling of safety for their residents and guests. When investors or tourists arrive in Odessa and see people in masks, they immediately get back to the airport, buy return tickets and fly away," Sadovyi told reporters.
"People who wear balaclavas are hiding. But they are hiding from their own nationals, which is nonsense and is absolutely inadmissible," he added.