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More than 30 killed in 'criminal' fire in Ukraine

It was reported earlier that 38 people were killed, it’s now been revised down to 31.

Clashes broke out between pro-Russians and government supporters in Odessa.
Clashes broke out between pro-Russians and government supporters in Odessa.
Image: Sergei Poliakov via AP

MORE THAN 30 people have died in a “criminal” blaze in Ukraine’s southern city of Odessa after a day of violent clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian militants.

Ukraine’s interior ministry gave a toll of at least 31 dead, revising down an earlier tally of 38 killed.

It said the fire had a “criminal” source but did not elaborate, nor did the ministry immediately identify the victims.

Some local media reported that pro-Russian militants were believed to have been in the building at the time, and that petrol bombs were lobbed between the building and a group of pro-Kiev militants.

That information could not be immediately confirmed however.

The interior ministry said most of those killed died of smoke inhalation, while others were killed trying to escape by jumping out of windows.

Earlier, clashes between the pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters killed four people.

It was the first eruption of violence in the south after weeks of mounting unrest in Ukraine’s east.

Odessa, a city of one million inhabitants, is located on the Black Sea coast, close to the border with Moldova and its breakaway state of Transdniestr, where Russia has troops stationed since a short war in 1992.

Ukraine’s Western-backed government accuses Russia of fomenting the rebellion taking over swathes of its eastern territory.

© – AFP 2014

Read:  Military conscription introduced in Ukraine as petrol bombers take over more buildings>

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