News / Europe

    Ukraine Official: 32 Victims of Odessa Violence Possibly Poisoned

    A man lays flowers inside the burnt-out Trade Unions Building in Odessa, Ukraine, May 4, 2014.
    A man lays flowers inside the burnt-out Trade Unions Building in Odessa, Ukraine, May 4, 2014.
    VOA News
    A top Ukrainian Interior Ministry official said Monday that 32 pro-Russian protesters who perished in the Odessa trade union building that burned down during violence in the southern Ukrainian port city earlier this month may have been poisoned with chloroform.
     
    Deputy Interior Minister Vitaliy Sakal, the ministry's chief investigator, said Monday that an investigative team had discovered chloroform in the burnt-out building.
     
    Citing experts, Sakal said inhaling chloroform vapor obstructs breathing and that this was "what happened in our case." He said 32 victims died of suffocation and heart failure due to an "unidentified substance," not from the high temperature caused by the fire.  He said the chloroform had been in the union building for several days.
     
    A total of 48 people were killed in Odessa on May 2 when violence between pro-Russian activists and supporters of Ukrainian unity culminated in the fire in the Trade Unions Building. Along with the 32 people who died inside the building, 10 died jumping out of the building's windows, and six were shot to death in street fighting.
     
    Sakal said both sides in the May 2 melee hurled Molotov cocktails.
     
    He said investigators are considering four possibilities: that the deaths were the result of an order to "extremist groups" to destabilize Ukraine; illegal activity by local security bodies aimed at discrediting the Kyiv government; "uncontrolled actions" by pro-Ukrainian soccer fans and pro-Russian groups; or a "provocation" by "radically-minded persons."
     
    Sakal said 12 people have been arrested in connection with the incident and 22 are suspected of involvement.
     
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, accused the Ukrainian authorities Monday of trying to "hide the truth" about the Odessa violence.
     
    He said he wanted see an investigation into reports that about 1,000 "militants" arrived in Odessa on the eve of the incident, including "suspected mercenaries from other countries" who were paid by "well-known characters." 

    Lavrov said he also wanted investigators to probe reports that "the people died not from carbon monoxide, but from toxic chemicals and bullet wounds," and that many victims were killed after escaping the burning building.
     
    The Russian foreign minister said he asked the United Nations and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to ensure that the investigation of the events in Odessa is conducted "in a transparent manner, under the auspices of international organizations."

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: StevenYun from: EU
    May 21, 2014 8:27 AM
    People who died in Odessa tragedy were outside the building. And when you are poisoned with chloroform you won't be capable to get out because chloroform affects the central nervous system so a man simply couldn't do anything to get out. But the killed people left the building that was set on fire by the Right Sector and they met their death outside when the Right Sector violently executed breathless people.

    The Internet saw many pictures and videos of what nationalist bandits did in Odessa and I wonder why Ukraine's officials dare to tell us lies about what happen now in Ukraine. Atrocities, public executions, oppression of national minorities, murders – all is done by the Right Sector and condoned by Ukraine's government in Kiev. So why do we support these monsters?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora