A shootout shakes the western Ukrainian town of Mukacheve in the Zakarpattia region, and prompts political rally in Kiev. Sean Carberry reports.
According to local media the shootout involved the security group of a local deputy Mykhailo Lan and a group of men said to be members of the paramilitary volunteer corps of Ukraine's right-wing group Right Sector. The armed group of men reportedly took over a sports complex in the Western Ukraine town of Mukacheve and a shootout occurred with Lan's forces. When police arrived at the scene, fighting escalated. In a Facebook post Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote: "Using grenade launchers, gunmen damaged two police cars, injuring four civilians and three police officers." Local reports of casualties vary. The official website of Right Sector said two of its members had been killed and four wounded. They allege Mykhailo Lan is involved in the drug and prostitution trades in the Mukacheve region. In response to the shootout, Right Sector staged a rally outside the presidential administration office in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. Party spokesman Artem Skoropadsky called for an end to what he said is the persecution of Right Sector members. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RIGHT SECTOR SPOKESMAN, ARTEM SKOROPADSKY, SAYING: "We want justice and for people to live normally. But when we try to stop flows of contraband (smuggling) and they start killing us, then this is a question that should be addressed to the government, not to us," Right Sector played a big role in Kiev street protests in 2014 that toppled former Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich. That sparked the worst Russia-West crisis since the end of the Cold War.