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Ukraine celebrates victory in Odessa Updated: 2014-05-05 18:13:21 KST

  Ukraine celebrates victory in Odessa

Hundreds of pro-unity Ukrainians cheered as they burned the Russian flag late Sunday, in a city that had been the site of bloody clashes just two days ago.
They are claiming victory over pro-Russian militants who had seized control of Ukraine's southern port city of Odessa.
Forty people, mostly pro-Moscow activitists, died there Friday trapped in a fire at the building they were occupying.
Visiting Odessa on Sunday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk blamed Russia for the bloody riots that led to so many deaths.

"Destruction of the country and splitting the country, this is the Russian plan. Odessa was holding on for two months until the Russians sent here more people to heat up the situation. Odessa is far too valuable for Russia. But it is even more valuable for us because it's our Odessa, our country and our people."

On the same day, nearly 70 pro-Russian militants arrested during Friday's unrest were released after hundreds of fellow activists stormed into the Odessa police station.
The police chief was replaced with Ivan Katerinchuck, who promised to bring those responsible to justice.

"Those who broke the law and committed crimes will be prosecuted."

At Odessa Square, pro-unity Ukrainians are celebrating their victory, hoisting the Ukrainian flag and singing their national anthem.
But the possibility of another violent revolution looms as pro-Russian separatists are planning their own referendum on secession in Donetsk, next Sunday.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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