KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The mayor of Ukraine's second-largest city is reported to be in "grave, but stable" condition after being shot in the back.
City hall officials in Kharkiv say the mayor (Hennady Kernes) was shot while cycling on the outskirts of the city this morning and underwent surgery.
Officials have not commented on who could be behind the attack, but the mayor could have angered both sides. He was a staunch opponent of the movement that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich) in February and was widely viewed as the organizer who sent activists to Kiev from eastern Ukraine to harass those demonstrators. But he has taken a softer stance toward the new Kiev government and earlier this month insisted he does not support pro-Russia insurgents and backs a united Ukraine.
One presidential candidate says the mayor was deliberately shot in an effort to destabilize the entire city of Kharkiv.
Meanwhile, pro-Russia insurgents seized more government buildings in eastern Ukraine today as the U.S. and the European Union hit Russia with fresh sanctions for allegedly fomenting the unrest.
170-c-13-(Maria Danilova (dah-nee-LOH'-vuh), AP correspondent)-"by separatist unrest"-AP correspondent Maria Danilova reports a leading official has been shot in the back, as unrest continues in Ukraine. (28 Apr 2014)
<<CUT *170 (04/28/14)££ 00:13 "by separatist unrest"
171-c-10-(Maria Danilova (dah-nee-LOH'-vuh), AP correspondent)-"injury is serious"-AP correspondent Maria Danilova reports the shooting in Ukraine's second-largest city has left the mayor badly injured. ((watch for dating)) (28 Apr 2014)
<<CUT *171 (04/28/14)££ 00:10 "injury is serious"
172-c-19-(Maria Danilova (dah-nee-LOH'-vuh), AP correspondent)-"in eastern Ukraine"-AP correspondent Maria Danilova reports that militants have overrun a government building in eastern Ukraine, expanding their onslaught in the region. (28 Apr 2014)
<<CUT *172 (04/28/14)££ 00:19 "in eastern Ukraine"
APPHOTO XSC102: FILE - In this Feb. 22. 2014 file photo, Kharkiv mayor Hennady Kernes speaks at the congress of provincial lawmakers and officials in the Ukrainian eastern city of Kharkiv. Kernes was shot in the back Monday morning, April 28, 2014, his office said. Kernes was said to be undergoing surgery and "doctors are fighting for his life," according to the city hall. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File) (28 Apr 2014)
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APPHOTO XSG114: A pro Russian masked armed man sits on the barricades in front of the city hall in Kostyantynivka, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 28, 2014, after masked militants with automatic weapons seized the hall building. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (28 Apr 2014)
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