Ukrainian rebels mock independence day

Published Aug 25, 2014 at 12:02AM

A man throws an egg at captured Ukrainian army prisoners Sunday as they’re escorted by pro-Russian rebels in a central square in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, a counter to the rest of the country celebrating independence from the Soviet Union.

Onlookers shouted that the men should be shot, and pelted the prisoners with empty beer bottles and tomatoes as well as eggs as they stumbled down Artyomovsk Street, Donetsk’s main thoroughfare. Behind the prisoners were two tanker trucks spraying soapy water, demonstratively cleaning the pavement where the Ukrainian soldiers had passed.

The anti-Independence Day parade staged by the main rebel group in eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic, was one of its most provocative public affronts to the Ukrainian government in the conflict to date. It contrasted sharply with the traditional military parade in Kiev, the national capital, where soldiers of the national army crisply saluted President Petro Poroshenko and crowds of cheering citizens Sunday.

The government in Kiev and its Western supporters say the rebels are encouraged, financed and armed by Russia, and there have been repeated sightings of military hardware and fighters passing into Ukraine from Russia. Even so, Moscow denies playing any role in the conflict.

— New York Times News Service