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Ukraine Nationalists Attack Russian Banks on Uprising Anniversary

  • VOA News

Members of self-defense battalions take part in a rally to commemorate demonstrators who were killed during the Maidan protests in 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 20, 2016.

Members of self-defense battalions take part in a rally to commemorate demonstrators who were killed during the Maidan protests in 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 20, 2016.

Ukraine nationalist protesters threw rocks and smashed windows at two Russian banks in central Kyiv on Saturday as they marked the second anniversary of a deadly uprising that toppled the country's Russian-leaning president.

On a day when hundreds gathered in the city's main square to commemorate the anniversary, some demonstrators targeted a branch of Russia's Sberbank and Alfa banks, blocking traffic and throwing paint on the two facilities.

Interior Ministry security force members stand guard outside a branch of Russian bank Sberbank, which was attacked during a protest against Russia in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 20, 2016.

Interior Ministry security force members stand guard outside a branch of Russian bank Sberbank, which was attacked during a protest against Russia in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 20, 2016.

Local news reports said the violence erupted despite the presence of thousands of police deployed to maintain order.

On February 20, 2014, more than 100 protesters were killed, most by gunfire, as forces loyal to then-President Viktor Yanukovych sought to quell anti-government protests that had gripped the capital for weeks. There have been no successful prosecutions for the killings, and the identities of the shooters remain unclear.

The deaths of the victims, now known in Ukraine as "the heavenly hundred," are widely seen as the catalyst that drove Yanukovych from office and to Russia days after the killings.

People attend a commemoration ceremony at the site where anti-Viktor Yanukovich protesters were killed during clashes in 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 20, 2016.

People attend a commemoration ceremony at the site where anti-Viktor Yanukovich protesters were killed during clashes in 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 20, 2016.

Weeks later, the Russian parliament moved to annex the largely Russian-speaking Crimean Peninsula, triggering a pro-Russia uprising in April 2014 in eastern Ukraine against Kyiv that has claimed more 9,000 lives.

Fighting has largely subsided in recent months, but neither side has fully implemented the so-called Minsk cease-fire pact negotiated last year by envoys from Europe, Russia and Ukraine.

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