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Kharkiv “separatist” titushki smash up TV channel

08.04.14

"Kharkiv separatists" who mistook the opera house for the regional administration building (photo: Dmytro Shevchenko)

On Monday evening around 30 young men in masks and with baseball bats burst into the TV ATN building, and seized the news office.  They apparently forced the General Director of the channel, Oleh Yukhta to write a letter of resignation and also demanded to be given live broadcasting time.  One of them stated that “we’ve come to ATN to tell journalists how to write the news.”

Their behaviour can be seen here, as one of them moves threateningly towards the person filming him, saying that he “forbids it”.  The woman in between asks who they are, and is told that they are “the people of Kharkiv”. 

They bear a strong resemblance to the titushki or hired thugs used during recent months against EuroMaidan demonstrators. 

By just after 23.00 most of the louts had left the TV channel.  By that time the Kharkiv regional police were asserting that attempts by similar “pro-Russian” masked men to seize the television tower in Kharkiv had been thwarted.  They claim that the tower is under police control. 

As reported, there were different reports throughout the day from Kharkiv regarding who was in control.  There were also violent scenes between separatists and EuroMaidan supporters.

Those who seized the regional administration received no support from deputies, so followed a similar move by the separatists in Donetsk and announced a “Kharkiv people’s republic”.  Police stopped them from entering most of the regional administration building, so they did this in the foyer of the building.

This, of course, was after they’d found the right building.  The supposed “Kharkiv residents who want Yanukovych to legitimize their actions and documents, and for Russia to protect their “republic” separatists” do not all seem to know Kharkiv that well. The masked people who stormed the Kharkiv regional administration on Sunday evening are reported by witnesses to have first gone for the Kharkiv Theatre of Opera and Ballet, believing this to be the administration building.

Halya Coynash

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