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One Dead After Rallies in Eastern Ukraine Turn Violent

The violence broke out after pro-Russian protesters threw smoke canisters at those rallying in support of Ukraine's territorial integrity.

At least one person was killed and several others were injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of secession to Russia in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the regional administration has said.

A 22-year-old man died in an ambulance from a stab wound sustained during the Thursday clash, and 15 others have been hospitalized, most of them in a neurosurgical unit, the administration said in an online statement.

The violence broke out after pro-Russian protesters threw smoke canisters at those rallying in support of Ukraine's territorial integrity, with the two groups separated from each another by a police barrier, Russian-language Novosti Donbassa reported.

Police troops watched over "passively" and made few attempts to prevent the clashes, the news report added, citing a unidentified participant in the rallies.

About 1,000 people on each side attended the rally in central Donetsk. Pro-Ukrainian activists made anti-war speeches, called for preserving their country's territorial unity and chanted "Glory to Ukraine, Glory to heroes," Ukraine's TVi reported.

Pro-Russian activists chanted "Russia" and sung Soviet-era songs.

Moscow has deployed troops in Crimea and backs a planned referendum this Sunday that will ask local voters whether they want the peninsula to join Russia. Eastern Ukraine also has a substantial Russian-speaking population, some of whom have called for that part of the country to also secede from Ukraine.

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