FRANCE 24’s special correspondents went to the eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Thursday, hours before top diplomats in Geneva reached a deal to ease the country’s separatist crisis. Watch their exclusive video report.
Some 200 people protested on Thursday against Kiev in the eastern port city of Mariupol, after a failed attack on an Ukrainian interior ministry base left three dead and 13 others wounded. According to Ukraine’s Interior minister Arsen Avakov, an armed group of about 300 separatists tried to storm the base with guns and petrol bombs, forcing security forces to open fire on the pro-Russian assailants.
When FRANCE 24's special correspondents in eastern Ukraine visited Mariupol, there was evidence the base had come under attack. A grey police jeep was inside the compound on Thursday morning with broken windows, flat tyres and bent doors. The gates of the compound had been flattened and there were shell casings outside the gates and several unused petrol bombs.
Our correspondents witnessed intense arguments between pro-Russian residents angry at Kiev and locals who support Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Separatists snub Geneva deal
Most Mariupol residents didn’t heed a warning from Ukraine’s intelligence services, who asked people to avoid the city centre on Thursday. Forces loyal to Kiev were supposed to oust pro-Russian separatists from the Mariupol city hall.
However, Kiev’s counter-offensive in Mariupol didn’t materialise. FRANCE 24’s special correspondents noted that local police often seemed to be on friendly terms with the pro-Russian insurgents occupying public buildings in eastern Ukraine.
Despite the international deal reached in Geneva, separatists in eastern Ukraine have refused to leave official buildings. A figurehead of the self-appointed Donetsk People’s Republic told reporters on Friday that the insurgents would leave official buildings only when the government in Kiev resigns.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)
Date created : 2014-04-18