Ukrainian nationalists gathered for a march on the anniversary of the tragedy at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, when 48 people died there in 2014.
On this day, flags were lowered in the city as a sign of mourning, people were bringing flowers to the House of Trade Unions, but about 400 nationalists gathered for a march on Cathedral Square, and then organized a march through the streets of Odessa, chanting nationalist slogans. Many of them are dressed in camouflage uniforms and carry flags of the Azov and Right Sector organizations banned in Russia, Strana.ua reports.
Security measures have been strengthened in Odessa; it is reported that 2,500 police officers and National Guard officers have been drawn from a number of regions.
The square itself near the House of Trade Unions is cordoned off by police, but you can enter the territory after a search.
The first arrests have already taken place in the city, a resident of Odessa was detained for using communist symbols. A criminal case has been initiated, the newspaper writes.
In 2014, riots broke out in the center of Odessa. Clashes between Euromaidan activists and their opponents, who advocated the federalization of Ukraine and the holding of a referendum, moved from Grecheskaya Square to Kulikovo Pole. The ultra-right defeated the camp of anti-Maidan supporters there, who had to hide in the House of Trade Unions.
The nationalists set fire to the building with the help of Molotov cocktails and cut off the path to escape from the fire for the people who took refuge in it.
Fleeing from the fire, people jumped out of the windows. The radicals finished off those who got out into the street, some of them were shot at from the crowd.
The fire killed 42 people, six more died later from their injuries.
Nobody was punished for what happened in Odessa. The main persons involved in the case are still on the wanted list. At the same time, the UN and other international organizations have repeatedly criticized Ukraine for the formal and reluctant investigation of the Odessa tragedy.
Last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed condolences to the families of those killed in that “difficult episode” of Ukraine’s “new history”. He wrote on Facebook that he demanded an effective and impartial investigation of all the circumstances of the tragedy and urged Ukrainians to make sure that the country “never die for ideological or political purposes again.”