July 14, 2015 / 10:14 AM / 2 years ago

Explosions in Lviv aimed at destabilizing Ukraine: Interior Ministry

KIEV (Reuters) - Two policemen were wounded in explosions at two district police stations in the west Ukrainian city of Lviv on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said, linking the cases to a deadly standoff between a far-right group and police over the weekend.

In a statement, the ministry said the entrances to the stations had been booby-trapped with explosives and the safety clip of a grenade was found at one of the sites.

“The Interior Ministry connects these explosions with events in the Carpathian region (in western Ukraine), organized with the aim of destabilizing the situation in the country,” it said.

On Saturday, two people were killed in a firefight between members of the ultranationalist group, Right Sector, and police in the town of Mukacheve in western Ukraine, prompting President Petro Poroshenko to call for all ‘illegal groups’ to disarm.

Right Sector is one of a number of militarized groups that emerged during violent protests that toppled Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich a year ago.

The militias went on to fight alongside Ukrainian troops in the east against pro-Russian separatists, but concerns have risen over whether they could pose a challenge to President Poroshenko and the government or threaten public security.

The Interior Ministry appealed to the public for information relating to the explosions in Lviv, warning that “escalation of this kind of violence ... could lead to victims among the civilian population including women and children.”

Right Sector and police have accused each other of initiating violence in Mukacheve, but on Tuesday a spokesman for the group said two of its members had surrendered to the SBU security service.

“Their aim was to give a full account about (what happened in) the Carpathian region,” spokesman Andriy Stempitsky said in an online statement.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice, editing by Elizabeth Piper and Ralph Boulton

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