Violence erupted in eastern Ukraine’s largest city on Sunday, as thousands across the country commemorated the anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled the pro-Kremlin administration, sparking a separatist revolt that so far has claimed more than 5,000 lives.
In Kharkiv, a northeastern city of some 1.5 million people, a bomb exploded as some 500 pro-Ukraine demonstrators marched through the city. Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe confirmed that the blast killed two people, while 11 were injured.
Ukrainian officials have taken four suspects into custody in connection with the attack, according to Reuters.
Another explosive device was discovered inside a shopping bag in the Black Sea city of Odessa on Sunday, though it was defused before it could detonate.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the bombings campaign as a terrorist attack designed “to spread panic and fear.”
“They are trying to make us afraid,” he said in a statement.
Earlier on Sunday, Poroshenko marched with the Presidents of Poland, Lithuania and Georgia, along with tens of thousands of ordinary Ukrainians, through the streets of Kiev to honor the Maidan protests, which culminated with the ousting of his predecessor Viktor Yanukovych one year ago.
In the separatist stronghold of Donetsk, a rebel spokesman said militants had begun pulling back their heavy weaponry from the front in accordance with the truce, according to the New York Times.
Over the weekend, the two adversaries successfully exchanged almost 200 prisoners of war, including 139 Ukrainian soldiers and 52 rebels, reports the BBC.
Nevertheless, the Kharkiv blast and reports that Ukrainian troops had held off a rebel offensive near the village of Shyrokyne continue to cast doubts over the staying power of a cease-fire signed in Belarus earlier this month.
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