In Digest, Ukraine, March 17, 2015

Police have reportedly been allowed to use live rounds as tensions flare in the eastern Ukrainian town of Konstantinovka, where an eight-year-old girl was killed yesterday in a hit-and-run accident by a Ukrainian forces’ armored vehicle.

Crowd attacks Ukraine army center in Konstantinovka, eastern Ukraine on March 16, 2015 after soldiers killed eight year old girl

Crowd attacks Ukraine army center in Konstantinovka, eastern Ukraine on March 16, 2015 after soldiers killed eight year old girl

Tensions have been boiling after Ukrainian soldiers driving through the town at high speed lost control of their vehicle and ran into a crowd of pedestrians, hitting a woman with a baby in a stroller and killing the older girl.

“The accident occurred at the Lomonosov Street near City Hospital No. 5. Three pedestrians suffered under the wheels of the fighting vehicle: A girl aged eight died on the spot, a woman and a child in a stroller were taken to hospital,” Ukraine’s Interior Ministry reported Monday night.

Memorial in Konstantinovka where eight year old Polina was killed by Ukraine army vehicle

Memorial in Konstantinovka where eight year old girl was killed by Ukraine army vehicle

Locals believe the driver of the vehicle was drunk at the time of the accident. According to local press, the perpetrators barely escaped the scene of the crime, as the fury of the locals erupted in clashes, with stones being thrown at security vehicles. Other residents were quick to surround the army barracks, where warning shots were reportedly fired.

Following the incident, enraged people gathered in front of the military unit stationed in the local school building, demanding the military surrender those who were involved in the hit and run accident, Sputnik reported. The crowd has also reportedly set fire to the entrance of the dorms of the Ukrainian forces.

“In the evening, near the dorms occupied by security forces, several hundred local residents gathered. They shouted: ‘Fascists!’ And threw stones at the windows of the barracks, set fire to two cars of the National Guard and overturned a third. In response, security forces fired several shots into the air,” one eyewitness told Sputnik. One of the people from the crowd reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail at one of the dorm windows, starting a fire.

According to Popular Front deputy Anton Gerashchenko, shoot-to-kill orders are enforced in Konstantinovka, to stop those trying to “incite” violence. “If someone in Kostyantynivka uses arms to oppose the laws of the Ukrainian authorities, uses this accident (hit and run) for mass unrest, then we will fire one warning shot, and then will be shooting to kill. If there is no time to warn , we will be shooting to kill immediately,” said Gerashchenko.

“No one is allowed to undermine the Ukrainian government with arms in their hands.”

Garashenko is an advisor to Minister of Internal Affairs (police) of Ukraine Arsen Avakov.

The Ukrainian soldiers responsible for the incident reportedly fled the scene in a taxi. Authorities later announced that the perpetrators were detained.

“Those responsible for the accident, two soldiers, were detained and handed over to the military prosecutor,” announced Vyacheslav Abroskin, head of Donetsk Regional Police, loyal to Kiev.

According to unconfirmed reports on social media, additional reinforcements were dispatched to Konstantinovka to quell the unrest. Some have alleged that the reinforcement might include members of the radical nationalist units. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry announced that a task force from the General Staff of the Armed Forces was sent to lead the investigation, promising to punish those responsible.

Kiev authorities also report that they have singled out the individual they believe was solely responsible for the en masse reaction against the negligence of Kiev’s forces. A Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesman for Donetsk Region, Ilya Kiva, promised that the “instigator” will soon be caught and be brought to justice. Kiva also urged Konstantinovka residents to stay calm and not to incite further violence.


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