This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets, claiming that post-Maidan authorities and Ukrainian patriots are to blame for the death of 48 protesters in street violence and the ensuing fire in the southern city of Odesa on 2 May 2014 and that Kyiv is covering up the perpetrators.
This claim is unsubstantiated because there is no supporting evidence to that effect. The investigation is still underway. Several pro-Russian individuals prosecuted in relation to these events have managed to flee. Some of them took refuge in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, now occupied by the Russian Federation, while others fled to the separatist-held territories in Donbas. It is their escape rather than Kyiv’s alleged delays of court proceedings that hampers the investigation because Ukraine’s judicial authorities have no access to the escapees.
About 300 well-equipped pro-Russian supporters attacked a march of about 2,000 Ukrainian patriots in Odesa that day. The pro-Russian activists (also known as anti-Maidan) were behaving very aggressively. Both groups used firearms in the clashes. Pro-Russian activists began throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at their opponents. The situation went out of control as the police failed to respond to violence effectively. Several pro-Russian activists and Ukrainian patriots were shot and killed as a result. The pro-Russian activists were beaten up and took refuge in the Trade Unions House nearby. Then a fire broke out in the building, which caused the death of 42 people. A total of 48 people, mostly supporters of secession from Ukraine and unification with Russia, died and about 200 were wounded during the violent events.
Contrary to Russian reports, there is no evidence that either Ukrainian authorities or Ukrainian patriots had set the building on fire. Some videos show unidentified persons throwing bottles of Molotov cocktails down from the roof of the Trade Unions House. It is still unclear who these people were. Claims about the alleged responsibility of Ukrainian authorities are unproven and unsubstantiated.
Read more pro-Kremlin disinformation cases about the Odesa tragedy.