Violent protests in Kyiv injure dozens, as lawmakers try to make peace in Ukraine’s east

Images reminiscent of the winter of 2013/2014.
Images reminiscent of the winter of 2013/2014.
Image: REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Ukrainian lawmakers voted today (Aug. 31) to give the country’s war-torn eastern regions more autonomy, triggering violent protests against the move outside the country’s parliament in Kyiv.

The far-right protesters are against granting special status to the regions held by Russian-backed rebels. The protesters attacked a police cordon, using firecrackers and gas bombs. According to Ukrainian media quoting mayor Vitali Klitschko, more than 100 people, mostly police, were injured in a grenade blast. One national guardsman died in the clashes.

Here’s the moment of the blast (around 1:10):

Drone footage from the protests:

Russia used Ukraine’s far right as a bogeyman to justify their intervention in Crimea, a move to “protect its citizens.”

The decentralization bill, backed by the president Petro Poroshenko and his party, passed in a rowdy parliamentary session. It aims to ease the rebels’ separatist aspirations in Donetsk and Luhansk, and still has to go through a second reading later this year, which may prove to be harder to pass.

The legislation was part of a peace deal brokered in February. Nearly 7,000 people have died during the fighting in Ukraine’s east, where it was calm today in contrast with the country’s capital:

The protests in Kyiv were a grim reminder of the winter of 2013-14, when dozens of pro-Western protesters died in clashes with the police.