Mayor of Ukraine’s second-largest city is shot

The New York Times reports: Unidentified gunmen opened fire on the mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, on Monday, seriously wounding him while he was riding a bicycle near a major highway, municipal officials said, potentially shifting the crisis in the east of the country onto new and perilous ground.

The mayor, Gennady A. Kernes, had been regarded as seeking to steer a middle course as pro-Russian militants conduct a campaign of occupations of key facilities in eastern cities that is widely believed to be aimed at drawing the region closer into Moscow’s orbit or prompting a Russian intervention similar to the events that led to the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea.

Municipal officials said that the gunmen shot Mr. Kernes in the back around 12 p.m. local time and that he was undergoing surgery for life-threatening injuries.

No arrests were reported.

The mayor’s death would be the first assassination of a major politician in the east and present a new challenge to the interim authorities in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, who have seemed largely powerless to dislodge pro-Russian militants and regain control of the east.

Mr. Kernes has said he supports a united Ukraine and opposes Russian intervention. [Continue reading…]

The Telegraph reports: Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine show the media three Ukrainian intelligence officers they say they detained in the town of Gorlivka.

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