Kharkiv mayor in 'grave but stable' condition after being shot in the back

By Kyle Johnson,

An eastern Ukrainian city mayor was shot in the back on Monday as tensions escalated and violent clashes erupted.

Kharkiv Mayor Hennady Kernes was riding his bike, when an unknown assailant shot him in the back, according to The Associated Press. His office said that he is now out of surgery and in "grave but stable" condition.

Authorities have not revealed any more information on the attack, but it has been noted that either side could have done it. USA Today reports that Kernes has been accused by the interim Ukrainian government of siding with former President Viktor Yanukovych and sending people to harass activists who wanted a new government in place.

The mayor has since appeared to side more with the interim government as he doesn't like the pro-Russian militants or the further splintering of the country.

Presidential candidate and friend of Kernes, Mykhailo Dobkin, suggested that the attacker meant to kill the mayor in an attempt to throw the city into chaos. "If you want my opinion, they were shooting not at Kernes, but at Kharkiv."

The day also saw peaceful activists at a pro-Ukrainian rally beaten while police looked on in the eastern city of Donetsk. Masked men with bats descended upon the crowd and 14 people were seriously hurt. A 19-year-old university student, Espen, said, "The police are supposed to protect us."

The United States and Europe have imposed more sanctions upon those in Russia as the country continues to do little to help de-escalate the situation.

Pro-Russian forces have also moved into kidnapping. On Friday, European military observers were abducted, because the militants claimed there was spy among the observers. They also wish to use them as bargaining chips to get rebels released from Ukrainian custody.

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