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Violence after Ukraine backed more autonomy for Eastern regions

The Rada parliament voted by a sound majority to give more autonomy to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, currently under control of pro-Russian groups.

SOURCES Euronews, BBC, The Guardian KIEV 31 AUGUST 2015 17:32 h GMT+1
ukraine, rada, protestors, august The protesters could be seen from inside Kiev's parliament building. / BBC

One national guard member has been killed and about 100 injured outside Ukraine's parliament (Rada), after MPs gave initial backing to reforms for more autonomy in the rebel-held east.



National guardsmen were pelted with fire crackers and petrol bombs as explosions were heard. A missile was hurled from the crowd of demonstrators, many of whom were carrying banners supporting ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party.



A loud explosion rang out and an AFP reporter described seeing several people covered in blood. Teargas was used by both sides, an AFP correspondent said.



Journalists who had been covering the developments were also among the wounded.



Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said some 30 people had been detained and more would follow.



 



THE VOTE IN A STORMY SESSION



The constitutional reforms are required under the terms of the peace deal signed in February, which called for Kiev to implement “decentralisation” by the end of this year. But critics have branded the reforms “un-Ukrainian”.



A total of 265 politicians voted in favour of the reforms at a stormy session of parliament, with protests both inside and outside the buidling.



Under the draft constitutional changes going through parliament, there will be a special law covering local government in rebel-held areas. However, parliament speaker Volodymyr Hroysman was adamant that would not mean special status for Donetsk and Luhansk, which rebel leaders have declared republics.



Almost 7,000 people have died since the conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out in March 2014, after Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.



 


 

 


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