A few hundred Ukrainian protesters rallying at the Russian embassy in Kiev have overturned several diplomatic cars and piled up tires to block entry into the building. They have also and thrown stones, smoke grenades, eggs, and paint at the premises.
Police stood idly by as the anti-Moscow crowd blockaded the site, expressing its anger over the Russian government’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
The protesters have thrown a Molotov cocktail at the embassy, causing a minor fire which has been extinguished. As of midnight local time, the situation had calmed down. However, protesters still remain at the site.
The demonstrators also broke pavement and hurled rocks at the embassy’s windows, ITAR-TASS reports.
The situation became even more tense as dozens of masked and camouflaged radicals of the Maidan self-defense troops, the Right Sector, and the nationalist Svoboda party joined the protest in the evening. Rocks, smoke grenades, and some explosives were thrown at the embassy from over the fence.
Press-attaché of the Russian diplomatic mission to Ukraine, Oleg Grishin, confirmed to RT that the overturned vehicles belong to embassy staff. Police have attempted to talk to protesters, but refrained from detaining any of them, he said.
“Security is provided by the Ukrainian side. They do not prevent the damage being caused to property of the Russian diplomatic mission and to the facade [of the building],” Grishin told RT over the phone.
The embassy has been effectively blocked by protesters’ cars placed at the entrance, as well as by heaps of tires, Grishin said.
A handful of people with placards reading “Russia go home,” “No vodka!” and slogans insulting Russian President Vladimir Putin initially started picketing near the embassy.
Several protesters hurled eggs, while loud speakers play Ukrainian patriotic songs.
Footage from the scene then showed protesters upturning several diplomatic cars parked in front of the embassy. The vehicles also had their number plates ripped off and were covered by graffiti. Someone drew several swastikas in the colors of the Ukrainian flag on one of the cars.
The Russian flag flying on a post in the embassy was hooked and dragged down by protesters over the fence. A flag of the nationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army was then hung at the embassy’s gates.
Some protesters shouted slogans against the Russian government, while others shouted “For our boys!” while throwing eggs at the building – referring to the 49 Ukrainian troops killed when a military transport plane was shot down by self-defense fighters near Lugansk.
The protesters believe Moscow is behind arming and assisting the eastern Ukrainian militia, although no factual evidence of such claims has been presented.
However, calls to gather at the Russian embassy with tires appeared on social media well before the deadly Lugansk incident that took place overnight. Ukrainian agency UNN reported earlier on Saturday that “action in support of the Crimeans of Ukraine” is scheduled to take place in front of the embassy. The activists were told to come in traditional dress “and bring presents to forcibly displaced Crimeans.”
Users on Twitter have compared Saturday’s action with the aftermath of the tragic events in Odessa on May 2 – in which nearly 50 people were killed. Back then, people laid flowers, candles, St. George ribbons, and Ukrainian flags at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a statement that it will “give legal evaluation” of the protesters’ actions. It did not elaborate further.
Moscow, Washington demand to stop violence in Kiev
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the attack on the Russian embassy and demanded that Kiev provide security for Russian diplomats.
“Moscow is extremely outraged at the provocative actions of fascist-like thugs in Kiev against the Russian Embassy. Moscow demands the Ukrainian side take all necessary security measures to protect Russian diplomats in Kiev,” the statement said.
No such measures have yet been taken by Kiev, which is a “fragrant violation of Ukraine’s obligations,” the ministry said.
Russia asked the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to respond to the attack on the Russian embassy in Kiev. A draft resolution on the issue has been introduced to the UNSC.
However Western countries in the United Nations Security Council have blocked Moscow’s draft resolution.
“Western delegations in the Security Council have blocked the Russian draft resolution condemning the attack on the embassy of the Russian federation in Kiev,” a UN source told RIA Novosti news agency.
Washington on Saturday spoke out against the violent action and called on Kiev to ensure the security of Russian diplomats.
“The US condemns the attack on the embassy of the Russian Federation in Kiev and calls on the Ukrainian government to fulfill its obligations under the Vienna convention to ensure the necessary security measures,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
As night fell in Kiev, calls for storming and torching the embassy grew louder. Activists of the Right Sector and Maidan self-defense decided to pick four “civil society” delegates and four media representatives to be sent to the embassy for “negotiations.”
The group made its way over the fence and entered the hallway of the embassy, where they met with an assistant secretary of the Russian envoy. One of the “delegates” demanded that Russia “admitted its guilt” for allegedly stirring dissent in eastern Ukraine and supporting anti-government activists. In particular, the Saturday night downing of a Ukrainian military plane by Lugansk self-defense troops was mentioned.
The diplomat promised to relay the protesters’ message to the Russian ambassador. The group returned to the crowd and said there was “no dialogue,” and that the top Russian diplomat was absent from the embassy.
Protesters rally outside Ukraine’s embassy in Moscow
Meanwhile about 200 people gathered in front of Ukraine’s embassy in Moscow, Itar-Tass reported. The demonstrators gathered to protest the attack on the Russian embassy in Kiev. The protesters also voiced their opposition towards Kiev’s actions in eastern Ukraine. Some demonstrators carried signs reading, “Free the journalists” and “We won’t forgive for the dead children.”
- ‘ Ukrainian Protesters Rallying at Russian Embassy Turns into a Riot as Molotov Cocktails Set it a Blaze ‘ (acenewsservices.com)
- Russian embassy in Kiev attacked: Protesters throw stones, firecrackers, Molotov cocktails – West blocks UN condemnation (sott.net)
- Some instigators of attack on Russian mission detained – Ukraine ministry (en.itar-tass.com)
- Western members of UNSC block Russia’s draft resolution on Kiev embassy attack (rt.com)
- Ukrainian FM chants ‘Putin – f**ker’ at vandalized Russian embassy in Kiev (rt.com)
- Russia proposes UN Security Council to condemn attack on Russian Embassy (voiceofrussia.com)
- Russia sends note to Ukraine’s ForMin urging to punish those involved in attack on embassy (en.itar-tass.com)
- Protesters turn over Russian diplomats’ cars, drag down flag at embassy in Kiev (PHOTOS) (rt.com)