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Ukraine Police Denies Arrests Over Toppling of Lenin Statue During Protest

Ukrainian authorities denied reports of having made any arrests in connection to the toppling of a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Kiev during mass anti-Russia protests on Sunday.

A deputy of the opposition party Udar, Valery Karpuntsov, said Monday police had arrested several protesters for trying to pilfer parts of a toppled statue of Lenin to take away as a souvenir. The lawmaker also said several bystanders had been arrested for having made derogatory comments about Lenin and Stalin.

Karpuntsov said none of the arrests concerned anyone directly involved in the monument's toppling but he did not specify the identities of the vandals, whose faces were hidden by masks as they brought down the monument of the former Soviet leader on Bessarabskaya Ulitsa, RBC reported.

Sunday's protesters lit flares, hurled smoke grenades and covered the monument's pedestal with the national flag of Ukraine and a red-and-black nationalist banner, RIA Novosti reported.

Authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the demolition of the monument, which was erected in 1946 to honor the former Soviet leader and is one of many statues of Lenin overlooking squares across the former Soviet Union.

The incident followed days of unrest in Kiev that saw hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians take to the streets urging the country's president to sack his government and re-establish ties with the European Union.

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