Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Unrest in Ukraine continues as militants free allies

DONETSK, Ukraine — Divisions deepened in Ukraine's third-largest city Sunday as pro-Russian militants attacked a police station in Odessa and freed 67 of their allies, while pro-Ukrainian activists gathered with sticks and clubs and vowed to defend the southern city from the kind of takeovers that have occurred in the eastern part of the country.

The spread of the violence to Odessa has raised the stakes dramatically in the Ukraine crisis, bringing the conflict between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian forces to the country's most important port. The failure of the police to prevent the violence has underlined how quickly Ukraine's security forces are losing control of their country.

Sunday's mayhem occurred two days after 46 people died in clashes and a fire in the city. The fact that most of those victims were pro-Russian activists has given their supporters a new, raw sense of grievance.

Hundreds of pro-Russian militants took part in the attack on the police station Sunday, aimed at releasing people arrested after Friday's fighting, according to witnesses and reporters on the scene.

The crowd chanted "Freedom for Odessa's heroes" and "Odessa rise up" as men wearing masks and carrying sticks and shields smashed windows and surveillance cameras, and forced their way into the compound. Police released the prisoners, sparking cheers and chants of "Odessa is a Russian town," witnesses said.

Odessa lies between the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in March, and the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria in Moldova, where Russia has a peacekeeping force. Concerns are mounting that Russia aims to take control of a huge swath of eastern and southern Ukraine, right up to Transnistria.

While Odessa has a sizable ethnic Russian minority — around 30 percent of the population — polls have found that most residents want to remain part of Ukraine.

Ukraine's new prime minister visited Odessa on Sunday, and he accused Russia of fomenting the unrest two days earlier. Calling it a "tragedy for all Ukraine," Arseniy Yatsenyuk also blamed a corrupt police force for failing to prevent the violence.

The trouble began Friday when a pro-Ukrainian rally in the city attended by thousands of soccer fans was attacked by pro-Russian separatists carrying sticks, shields and, in some cases, guns. Hours of street battles followed, and pro-Ukrainian activists said three members of their group had been shot and killed.

Later that evening, a pro-Ukrainian mob attacked people in a pro-Russian encampment, sending them running into a nearby building that the crowd then set on fire with gasoline bombs.

It was the worst day of violence in Ukraine since pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia in February. Ukraine's government put the blame on Moscow, apparently for starting the violence.

"There were dozens of casualties resulting from a well-prepared and organized action against people, against Ukraine and against Odessa," Yatsenyuk told representatives of social organizations, according to the Reuters news agency.

He also tasked prosecutors with "finding all instigators, all organizers and all those that under Russian leadership began a deadly attack on Ukraine and Odessa," the Associated Press reported.

There were signs that backers of the pro-Western government in Kiev were not going to give up control of their city without a fight. Dozens of pro-Ukrainian supporters gathered on a main street carrying their own shields and clubs.

"We are never going to lose our city of Odessa to any lovers of the Russian tricolor flag," local leader Zoya Kozanzhy said by telephone. "Those who don't like Ukraine can go to Russia."

Comments
Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

TAMPA — Vita Vea loves to tell the story about the trip he took to French Polynesia with some University of Washington students. The group came upon some enormous rocks."Their strongman competition is they have a tradition where they lift rocks...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
NFL draft: Florida Gators’ Taven Bryan goes to Jaguars at No. 29

NFL draft: Florida Gators’ Taven Bryan goes to Jaguars at No. 29

Former Florida defensive lineman Taven Bryan gave the Gators a first-round pick for the sixth consecutive year, after being drafted by the Jaguars at No. 29 overall.The 6-foot-4, 291-pound Wyoming native was one of the most talented players in the dr...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
So many kind words on Rays’ Jonny Venters, Matt Duffy close

So many kind words on Rays’ Jonny Venters, Matt Duffy close

BALTIMORE — LHP Jonny Venters ran through some pretty good emotions Wednesday night when after battling through a series of elbow injuries, he made it back into a major-league game for the first since 2012 — with a four-pitch out and a ga...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
NFL draft: Patriots pick Lakewood alum Isaiah Wynn at No. 23

NFL draft: Patriots pick Lakewood alum Isaiah Wynn at No. 23

Lakewood High alumnus and former Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn was drafted No. 23 overall Thursday by the Patriots.Wynn becomes one of the highest drafted offensive linemen in Tampa Bay history and the first Pinellas County player to go in th...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Bucs GM Jason Licht has assembled enough talent to win

Bucs GM Jason Licht has assembled enough talent to win

TAMPA — Another busy offseason. Another first round of the NFL draft. Another interesting night.And, through it all, Bucs general manager Jason Licht has looked pretty darn good.He spent the past couple of months patching his offensive line, sp...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
NFL draft: Chargers take FSU’s Derwin James with No. 17 pick

NFL draft: Chargers take FSU’s Derwin James with No. 17 pick

Former Florida State safety Derwin James fell farther than expected Thursday in the first night of the NFL draft before being chosen by the Chargers with the No. 17 overall pick.James became the fifth former Seminoles defensive back ever drafted in t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Whether you're a fan of the Bucs, Gators, Seminoles, 'Canes or Bulls, you'll want to follow our live coverage of the 2018 NFL draft today through Saturday in Arlington, Tex. We'll have live news, commentary, photos, videos, stories and more, so come...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputy, another driver injured when car strikes patrol vehicle

Deputy, another driver injured when car strikes patrol vehicle

LARGO — A Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy and another driver were injured when a sports car hit a sheriff’s sport-utility vehicle on Thursday evening, according to the Sheriff’s Office.Both were expected to survive.The crash took place just after 6 ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After 9-5 win, Rays head back to Boston a different team: Here’s why

After 9-5 win, Rays head back to Boston a different team: Here’s why

BALTIMORE — When the Rays last saw Boston, they were trudging out of Fenway Park after a sweep by the Red Sox that left them with a 1-8 record that marked a very low point in their young season.They'll be back at Fenway Friday night, and riding...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — Two more arrests were made recently in connection with the April 2 shooting death of a man outside an unlicensed adult entertainment venue on Fourth Street S, police said.Rodriguez Green, 24, of Largo and Darius Trennell Collins, 23,...
Updated: 1 hour ago