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US condemns "unacceptable" violence in Ukraine

Published on May 3, 2014 10:45 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States condemned "unacceptable" violence on the bloodiest day since Kiev's Western-backed government took power, urging both Ukraine and Russia to restore order.

At least 31 people died in a fire in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, with local media reporting that pro-Russian militants were believed to have been in the burning building at the time.

Violence also spread across the country. There were clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian militants, with reports of renewed fighting in Slavyansk leading to the deaths of two more Ukrainian soldiers, meaning at least nine people had been killed in violence in the flashpoint eastern town throughout the day.

"The international community must stand together in support of the Ukrainian people as they cope with this tragedy," State Department deputy spokesman Marie Harf said in a statement mourning the "heartbreaking" loss of life.

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