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Nurse’s death sparks call for revenge

Kramatorsk (Ukraine), May 5 (Reuters): If Kramatorsk needed a martyr, it has one now — a 21-year-old nurse called Yulia Izotova, killed on Saturday, buried today.

“The driver thought she was unconscious,” said her best friend, Lena. “But when they reached the hospital, she was pulled out dead.”

Shot in the back by what friends and relatives say were large-calibre bullets fired from a column of Ukrainian armour as she travelled by car after dark between rebel-held towns, Izotova joins a small but growing list of dead in this mining region’s month-old uprising.

Though in life she played no active role in the conflict, her open coffin was brought to Kramatorsk’s central square and laid at the foot of the town hall, occupied by gunmen who say they would rather secede from Ukraine than live under a government in Kiev that has chosen Europe over Russia.

Hundreds gathered to pay their respects, in a scene that recalled late February in Kiev, when coffin after coffin was borne through a crowd on the Maidan, the capital’s central square, carrying the victims of gunbattles with police defending Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich.

“They shoot at us. Why? Because we don’t want to live with fascists?” asked 58-year-old passport photographer Sergei Forminski, standing with his wife among the mourners. “We’re not slaves; we kneel to no one.”

The coffin was carried through streets stilled by barricades of tyres and trees, into the town’s Holy Trinity Church, where seven priests led the many mourners in prayer. Scattered red carnations traced the route.

Opinions as to what should happen here vary, more than the catch-all terms “pro-Russian” and “separatist” might suggest. But if some were once preaching moderation, for a future still within Ukraine, with each death they are fast being drowned out by those calling for this southeastern steel and coal belt to break away altogether.

 
 
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