More Than 40 People Killed During Violent Clashes In Ukraine’s Odessa

Updated: At least 40 people werekilled, most caught in a building fire, as Ukrainian government supporters battled with pro-Russians in the port city of Odessa.

UPDATED — May 2, 6:40 p.m. ET:

More than 40 people were killed Friday, most of them caught in a building fire, during clashes between pro-Russian and Ukrainian government supporters in Odessa, Reuters reported.

STRINGER / Reuters / Landov

At least 38 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire, according to police.

STRINGER / Reuters /Landov

This video shows scenes from the burning building:

(h/t Circa) youtube.com

At least four others killed and 174 injured when the two sides battled against each other on the streets of the port city.

A Ukrainian government supporter carries stones during a clash with pro-Russians in Odessa on May 2. AP Photo/Sergei Poliakov

Two dead bodies in #odessa:

— Howard Amos (@howardamos)

Odessa, a city on the Black Sea some 330 miles from the turmoil in the east, had remained largely untroubled by unrest since the February toppling of pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych.

Scenes from Deribasovskaya street in Odessa. instagram.com

According to reports, the violence began when marchers calling for Ukrainian national unity clashed with a pro-Russia group said to be comprised of fans of the local soccer team.

A Ukrainian government supporter holds a stone and a stick during the battles. AP Photo/Sergei Poliakov

STRINGER / Reuters /Landov

#odessa injuries everywhere, bloody scene. Matched w/ rhetoric coming out of Kremlin...bad news

— Boris Zilberman (@rolltidebmz)

Thousands of protestors threw Molotov cocktails and stones dismantled from the pavements at one another.

AP Photo/Sergei Poliakov

Police initially failed to stop the violence, according to local reports.

There are a couple of hundred riot police. They are doing nothing:

— Howard Amos (@howardamos)

The local House of Trade Unions building was set on fire.

Another photo of burning Union building in Odessa.

— Allan Edward Tierney (@LowMaintainLife)

Howard Amos, a reporter in Russia, tweeted that “heavily outnumbered pro-Russians inside are shooting and throwing flash grenades.”

The first floor of the regional administration building seems to be ablaze:

— Howard Amos (@howardamos)

People inside the burning building were seen hanging from windows trying to escape the smoke.

Guys hanging from the window sill on 3rd floor, apparently to escape smoke inside:

— Howard Amos (@howardamos)

Once fire engines and ambulances arrived, the fire in the trade union building was put out and pro-Russian protestors were dragged out by the police and treated for wounds before being loaded into police vans, Amos reported.

Pro-Russian protesters have been brought outside, have hands on head amid mob but are being treated for wounds:

— Howard Amos (@howardamos)

As the clashes ceased, chants of “Odessa, Ukraine” were heard as pro-Russian protesters were led into buses by riot police.

Aftermath outside trade union building in #odessa:

— Howard Amos (@howardamos)

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Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.