Separatists attack residence of police soldiers in Donetsk

6 p.m. – More
than 100 armed separatists surrounded the residence of the government’s
troops in Donetsk and have fired some shots at the building,
according to Novosti Donbassa news site. The residential base,
located in Shakhterskie Zori sanatorium in Budennovskiy district of
the city, hosts 120 police soldiers, the news site says.

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The
separatists arrived by trucks, most of them carried guns and
Kalashnikovs. Some of them also have hand grenade launchers. They set
fire to two tires. — Katya Gorchinskaya

Liashko: Pro-Russian rebels abduct Mariupol
police chief

4:45 p.m. – Kremlin-backed “terrorists” kidnapped Mariupol police chief
Valeriy Androshchuk during to today’s firefight over the local police
headquarters, said lawmaker Oleh Liashko on his Facebook page who is in
the Donetsk Oblast city at the moment.

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He “fought until the
end” but “terrorists” took him from the “burning police station in a car that
was cut off by a sports utility vehicle,” wrote Liashko. “The fighters stabbed
the jeep driver with a knife and placed Androshchuk inside the car trunk and
drove off in an unknown direction.” – Mark Rachkevych

 

A video from Mariupol shows one man bleeding on the ground, possibly dead

4:40 p.m. — A video released by a pro-Russian Youtube user in Mariupol captures a gloomy picture in the streets of this eastern Ukrainian city where clashes took place between armed separatists and government troops. The video also shows one man on the ground, possibly dead, at the crossroads of Lenin and Engels Streets. — Katya Gorchinskaya

Odessa remains unusually quiet on Victory Day

4:30 p.m. — The streets of Odessa are eerily quiet today as people stay home in droves, or have gone to the country instead of joining in traditional Victory day celebrations.

“It’s incredible; it’s never been as empty as this before,” said one disappointed shop-keeper near the Alley of Glory, where traditionally Odessans gather on May 9 to lay flowers on the grave of the unknown sailor. 

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Odessa city council cancelled today’s parade and warned citizens to stay home after street violence last week killed 46 people. Nevertheless Odessans of all ages, many with children, still turned out at the Alley of Glory, overwhelming the few war veterans there with flowers, congratulations and thanks. The mood was distinctly conciliatory, and most people refused to talk about politics.

“This is my day,” said veteran Alexander Kostin, who was nine years old when he picked up a gun to fight in 1941. “We’re not afraid of those hooligans who were fighting last week. There will never be any serious war in Odessa.”    

Artem Filipenko, spokesman of the pro-Ukrainian Odessa self-defence brigade, said around 80 members of his group were out patrolling the streets in civilian clothing, but that they were hoping for no confrontations today. “Now it’s silent in the city.” — Lily Hyde

Avakov says at least 21 dead in Mariupol

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4:15 p.m. — At
least 21 people died in clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast, according to Interior Minister
Arsen Avakov.

He
said that some 60 “terrorists” with automatic weapons attacked the city
police headquarters earlier today and attempted to take over the
building “without any preliminary demands.”

“There
was a fight in the building, which turned into a full-scale military
clash after reinforcements arrived from the police and Omega unit of
the National Guard,” Avakov wrote on his Facebook page.

He
said 20 separatists died and four were arrested on the separatist side,
and only one dead on the government side. He said five Ukrainian officers were
wounded.  —Katya Gorchinskaya

Mariupol media
outlet: Pro-Russian rebels kill Dnipopetrovsk brigade commander in Mariupol

3:55 p.m. –  A live blog ин Mariupol media outlet 0629, citing lawmaker Oleh Liashko
who is on the scene, reports that a sniper killed Serhiy Demydenko, the
commander of the Dnipropetrovsk Brigade in a firefight near the city’s police headquarters
between Kremlin-backed terrorists and pro-Ukrainian forces. According to Kiashko, the police headquarters has burnt to the ground. Liashko also
reported that the local National Guard commander, Serhiy Savinsky, is severely
wounded. Mariupol police chief Valeriy Androshchuk cannot be found although he
was seen “shooting to the end.” Citing eyewitnesses, 0629 reported that “terrorists
took Demydenko’s dead body and cut his ears off and gauged his eyes.” The firefight started when pro-Russian separatists attacked the local police headquarters. – Mark
Rachkevych

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SBU nabs two Russians
illegally crossing border in Luhansk Oblast (VIDEO)

3:40 p.m. – The
Security Service of Ukraine says it caught to Russian citizens who illegally
crossed the border into Luhansk Oblast on May 8. They had instructions from
Russia’s Federal Security Service to take part in “extremist activities.”

They were to join the Kremlin-backed separatist movement in
Donbass and collect information on the “socio-economic situation in the region
and on organizations to create a pro-Russian ideological position in eastern
oblast.”

The two captured alleged subversives are members of the unregistered
political party “Other Russia” headed by Eduard Limonov, the SBU says. – Mark Rachkevych

Police find husband and wife shot dead in two cars in Luhansk

3:00 p.m.  – Today at 2:15 a.m. 10-15 kilometers from Ukraine’s southeastern border with Russia next to the village of Novoborovytsi, a husband and wife were found shot dead in two separate Toyota Landcruisers that were riddled with bullets, the Luhansk Oblast Interior Ministry reports. The man, 38, is a resident of Antratsit, Luhansk Oblast, while his wife was four years older. Their 10-year-old daughter is being treated in a local hospital, local police say.  — Mark Rachkevych

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Fewer people celebrate Victory Day in Kyiv this year

2:50 p.m. —  There were noticeably fewer people out in Glory Park in Kyiv to celebrate Victory Day after the government’s warning of potential provocations from Russia and pro-Russian separatist groups. There was heavy security with a variety of police, camouflaged soldiers, and Euromaidan civilians present. When asked about coming to Glory Park in Kiev to commemorate the fallen Soviet soldier during World War II despite possible terrorist acts, Boris Krasnevsky, 48,  said: “This is an annual tradition for Kievans to come out on May 9, thus, nothing can stop us from honoring the soldiers.”

“This holiday is very important, almost every family…my wife’s family also fought in the war, my two grandfathers fought, one died in (the Battle of) Kursk (one of the biggest tank battles in World War II)…this is a holy day for us.”

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When asked to comment on the unrest in Odessa and in eastern Ukraine, Krasnevsky said: “We are against the use of force by the separatists whoever they may be.” —Mark Rachkevych

Government takes part in a prayer on Victory Day

2:30 p.m. – Most of Ukraine’s Cabinet members took part in a religious service in the memory of those who died in World War II. The service was held in St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv on May 9, when the 69th anniversary of victory in World War II is celebrated. 

The service was led by Orthodox Patriarch Filaret of the Kyiv Patriarchate. – Katya Gorchinskaya

Ukrainian troops, pro-Russian rebels clash in Mariupol, two dead

1: 40 p.m. Ukrainian forces clashed with pro-Russian separatists in Mariupol on Friday at the port town’s police headquarters and at the local interior ministry building, killing two people and wounding eight others, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported.

The news agency said police were trying to wrest back control of the police building when they came under fire from pro-Russians who had taken the interior ministry building. —Reuters

Luhansk
holds a modest rally on Victory Day

12:45
p.m.
Some 2,000 people gathered to celebrate Victory Day in
central Luhansk by the Glory Column, including the city government.
The city mayor Serhiy Kravchenko, who gave a speech in front of the
crowd, said that he was “proud of being a son of a man who fought
on the front lines and will never betray my memory of him.”

“Today,
the situation is tense to the limit. On this day, we have to stand
united and remember that there is nothing scarier than war. We must
not allow our mothers to send their children off to war,” he said.

The
city did not hold a traditional parade, but a tank that had been
stolen by pro-Russian citizens, was brought into the city center.
Many people posed for pictured in front of the tank. World War II
veterans laid flowers to the Glory memorial as part of celebrations
while activists handed out leaflets advertising the May 11 secession
referendum during the celebrations. —Interfax-Ukraine

Donetsk self-proclaimed governor predicts a ‘good result’ for the May 11 referendum

12:02 p.m. “Donetsk People’s Republic” insurgent-appointed governor Denis Pushilin predicted a “good result” for the May 11 secession referendum. Marching in a group of people during Victory Day celebrations in central Donetsk, he said “There will be a referendum tomorrow. And there will be a good result.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the separatists on May 9 to move back the date of the referendum, which is supposed to decide the future of two eastern regions of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk. But the separatists have decided to press ahead with it anyway. Ukraine’s central government does not recognize the self-proclaimed authorities in the region, and says the referendum will have no legal power, regardless of the outcome. – Christopher J. Miller

Crowds celebrate Victory Day in Donetsk

11:40 a.m. Some 1,000 people gathered at war memorials and outside the regional government building in Donetsk on May 9 to commemorate the Soviet Union’s victory over fascism 69 years ago.

Young and old alike, including several war veterans adorned with shiny medals of valor, waved the flags of Russia, the Soviet Union and the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” as old hymns memorializing the Great Patriotic War blared from speakers mounted atop barricades surrounding the region’s government headquarters. Pro-Russian separatists have been in control the building for weeks and use it as their headquarters. 

The group is expected to move from the regional administration buildings to Donetsk’s central Lenin Square at noon for a larger event that will culminate in a display if fireworks this evening, according to organizers.

Christopher J. Miller

National Security Council official says cable fire was caused by a Molotov cocktail, blames Russian special services

11:21 a.m. National Security and Defense Council Deputy Secretary Viktoria Siumar
confirmed that the fire in a cable duct was caused by a Molotov
cocktail, but said it had been contained and TV broadcasting
restored. On her Facebook page, she said that it was done by the
Russian special services, whose “logic is still based on Lenin’s
teaching of primarily targeting “the post office, the telephone and
telegraph.”

“Yesterday
the law enforcers took under increased guard the TV tower and other
critical objects of infrastructure in Kyiv. The sabouters could not
get onto the territory of the ‘pencil’ (main TV building) in Syrets.
This is why, according to preliminary data, they set up fire in the
well that can be accessed from the street, by throwing a Molotov
cocktail. Only professionals know about such wells. A classical case
of sabotage. A few hours later we localized the fire and restored TV
broadcasting. On air now,” Siumar wrote on her Facebook page. – Katya Gorchinskaya

Police detain an armed man close to site of Victory Day celebrations

11:00 a.m. A combined patrol of the road police and Maidan Self-Defense units in Kyiv  detained a man in a
bullet-proof vest driving a Skoda car that had an automatic
rifle and ammunition in the boot, a spokeswoman for the police told the Kyiv
Post. The driver was caught in the morning of May 9 close to the Glory Square, one of the
main sites of Victory Day celebrations in Kyiv. The man is currently
being questioned and is yet to be identified, said Yaryna Levchenko,
deputy head of the public relations department of the Kyiv police.
She said police in the Kyiv region have detained other men with
weapons in the week approaching Victory Day, but could not provide any details.

The
man caught on May 9 is incriminated with illegal possession of
weapons, which can yield a prison term of up to five years, the
police said. – Oksana Torhan, Katya Gorchinskaya

City official denies sabotage of cable networks

10:30 a.m.  Kyiv
City Administrator Volodymyr Bondarenko said that a fire in the cable
duct that erupted in the early hours of May 9 was not a result of
sabotage, but rather a result of a short circuit in electric
networks. “There was no dynamite- that’s for sure. This is a fire
from a short circuit, a fire between cables. There are people
working there, no explosion or chemicals that could have burned. The
(Security) Service is checking, but just in case,” Interfax-Ukraine
news agency quoted the city administrator as saying.

Earlier in the day, journalist Artem Shevchenko wrote on his Facebook page that the fire was caused by a Molotov cocktail.

Bondarenko
also said that the fire started some distance away from the main TV
tower, which broadcasts all of the regular TV channels. There are
nine fire trucks reported at the site of the fire, but they are yet
to start putting it out because they are waiting for Kyivenergo, the
electricity supplier, to cut off power in that location.

The Emergencies Service said, however, that cutting off power supplies is complicated by the fact that the same cable feeds a nearby neurological hospital, where four people are currently in emergency care and are dependent of electrical equipment. – Katya Gorchinskaya

Officials lay flowers to Victory Day monument

10:15 a.m. Kyiv City Administrator Volodymyr Bondarenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, interim President Oleksandr Turchynov laid flowers to the Glory Momument on May 9 as part of celebrations of Victory Day.

Fire in cable duct cuts major TV channels off air

10:00 a.m. A fire that erupted this morning destroyed underground cables that belong to the National TV and Radio Company, cutting several major TV and radio channels off air. –Katya Gorchinskaya

The
Kyiv city police said the fire in an underground cable channel
located on 48 Melnykova, was reported at 7:23, and is currently being
put out. There are no more details available.

Several
major national TV channels, including Inter, First National, Mega,
Interfilm, K1, K2, have been cut off air from 4 a.m., according to
Podrobnosti.ua, Inter TV channel’s news program site. A third of
radio stations have also been cut off the air, according to the news
site’s estimates.

Ukraine
is celebrating Victory Day today to commemorate the Soviet Union’s
victory in World War II. The Ukrainian government warned that
provocations can be expected on this day nationwide. –Katya Gorchinskaya

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