Unknown attackers shoot rubber bullets at bus near Kharkiv, injure 4
A group of unknown individuals has attacked a bus on the Kyiv–Kharkiv highway, shooting at its passengers with rubber bullets and wounding four.
The attack occurred on Aug. 27 near the city of Lyubotyn in Kharkiv Oblast, where the attackers blocked the road with their car and started firing at the bus, shattering windows and hurting passengers, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported.
All of the passengers were from the Patriots — For Life public organization set up by Ilya Kiva, a controversial lawmaker with the pro-Russian Opposition Platform — For Life party. Four injured passengers were hospitalized with wounds and bruises from the rubber bullets. One also had a concussion. Currently, their condition is stable.
It’s unknown how many people attacked the bus, but the police have already arrested 14 suspects. Reportedly, they also have the contacts of 35 other people, who were involved in the crime. Five of them have been arrested.
As of now, the police have opened two criminal proceedings for “hooliganism” and “attempted murder of two or more persons with hooligan motives, committed by a group of persons with prior conspiracy.”
Anton Gerashchenko, deputy interior minister, wrote on Facebook that this was “a conflict between two groups of supporters of different political forces.”
Lawmaker Kiva accused Azov, a far-right Ukrainian volunteer battalion, and the far-right National Corps party of the attack. Kiva also claimed on Facebook that some passengers were killed and some kidnapped — information that was later debunked by the authorities. Kiva deleted his Facebook post.
Meanwhile, both Azov and the National Corps have denied any involvement in the shooting.
“We have long warned that the actions of this psychopath Kiva can lead to human casualties,” the National Corps stated on its website on Aug. 27. “We call on law enforcement agencies to immediately detain Ilya Kiva and investigate his involvement in the organization of a terrorist attack on the Kyiv–Kharkiv highway.”
Just two days ago, on Aug. 25, Kiva’s organization Patriots — For Life and veterans of the Azov Battalion reportedly clashed on the street. After the supposed fight, each side accused the other of the attack and of using weapons.
Maxim Zhorin, head of the National Corps, said that “armed titushkas (hired thugs) of Ilya Kiva” attacked and shot at Azov’s veterans, who were walking in central Kyiv with their friends.
Kiva, meanwhile, accused the National Corps of this attack. According to him, in this attack, 15 people tried to kidnap the regional leader of the organization, Oleg Shyryaev.