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Video Shows Moment of Deadly Explosion at Peace March in Eastern Ukraine

Footage shows a panicked crowd scattering after a large blast caused by a bomb that was tossed out the window of a car in the eastern city of Kharkiv.

by Meredith Hoffman
Feb 22 2015, 4:55pm

Photo via Facebook/Victoria Petrukhina/Storyful

An explosion killed at least two people at a pro-Kiev peace march Sunday in eastern Ukraine, one week after a tenuous ceasefire was implemented in attempt to calm the yearlong conflict between the government and pro-Russia separatists.

A bomb was tossed out the window of a car into a crowd marching by a metro station in the eastern city of Kharkiv, a Ukrainian official told Reuters.

According to an official statement by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, a police officer was among those killed. At least 10 people were injured in the attack.

Video footage from the scene shows a crowd chanting and carrying Ukrainian flags through the street, followed by a large explosion that scatters the panicked demonstrators. In the aftermath of the blast, several injured people can be seen writhing on the ground in pain, with one bystander offering a belt to a wounded man use as a tourniquet.

Russian Roulette. Watch the VICE News dispatches from Ukraine here.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) released a video later Sunday that shows the arrest of the alleged perpetrators of the attack, dubbed the "Kharkiv terrorists." The video shows police finding what appears to be a portable, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher in a vehicle that belongs to the suspects.

In a statement, the SBU claimed the suspects admitted to receiving training in Belgorod, Russia, and said they planned to carry out an attack on a club frequented by Ukrainian soldiers. 

The explosion occurred just as rebels claimed to prepare the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the frontlines in eastern Ukraine on Sunday. Ukrainian officials, however, said the separatists have continued fighting with additional weaponry.

The rebels captured the strategic town of Debaltseve on Wednesday and have now reportedly began to target the government-controlled port of Mariupol, using a host of new equipment allegedly supplied by Russia. Sixty armored vehicles, including tanks, arrived Saturday in the town Amvrosiivka on a military train from Russia, and another shipment crossed the border near Mariupol, a spokesman for Ukraine's military told Reuters.

"The fight continues. Our soldiers are holding their positions," the spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, reportedly said.

In rebel-held Debaltseve, the situation has become dire for residents, the peace monitoring group the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe told the Guardian. The group heard intense shelling Saturday in the city and found severe shortages of food, gas, medicine, and electricity for the 5,000 people still living in the town.

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Photo via Facebook/Victoria Petrukhina/Storyful

Both rebels and the Ukrainian military have accused each other of violating the ceasefire, but overall fighting has dramatically decreased since the truce began last Sunday. The rebels' pledge to withdraw heavy weaponry could signify major progress toward peace, officials said.

The two sides swapped nearly 200 prisoners late Saturday in another promising step enacting the peace plan, the Guardian reported. Rebels released 140 Ukrainian soldiers in exchange for 52 of their fighters — one step in the "all-for-all" prisoner swap delineated in the truce.

Escape from Debaltseve: How one convoy made it out of Ukraine's besieged city. Read more here. 

 Photo via Facebook/Victoria Petrukhina/Storyful

But Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk declared Saturday that the ceasefire appeared non-existent, and warned that Vladimir Putin would not rest until Ukraine was in Russia's hands.

"We don't have a ceasefire… because a ceasefire means that no one shoots," Yatsenuk told Fox News. He said there was "no doubt" Putin was trying to take over Ukraine. "But let me provide you with a bigger scope, what's really the goal of Vladimir Putin… He's fighting with all of us."

Follow Meredith Hoffman on Twitter: @merhoffman