Ukraine hit with four blasts, government denounces "act of terrorism”


View of the empty pedestal of Stalin's monument after an explosion in front of the Communist Party residence in Zaporizhia on January 1, 2011.



Four blasts shook the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk today in what the government has denounced as an "act of terrorism," reported Reuters

The Interior Ministry issued a statement saying least 27 people were reported wounded in the series of explosions, all of which reportedly took place within the same hour, said Reuters

The violence comes only weeks before Ukraine co-hosts the Euro football finals, said The Guardian

Yuri Boychenko, a spokesman for the prosecutor general’s office, told The New York Times today that authorities expect the bombings were the work of terrorists. 

Reuters said the same office opened a criminal case over the violence, describing it as an “act of terrorism."

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Such attacks are rare in Ukraine. An investigation is under way, but no one has been arrested so far, a police official told Reuters.

The Interior Minister is already said to be en route to the city, the country's third-largest with a population of some one million.

The New York Times, citing the Interior Ministry, said the first blast took place at 11:50 a.m. local time at a tram stop, while other blasts took place at a train station, near a cinema. One bomb was reportedly found inside a trash can. 

Meanwhile, authorities told the Associated Press that they had been sent threatening letters from unknown individuals that warned of more violence unless placated with money. 

Dnepropetrovsk, the home town of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is located in Ukraine's predominantly Russian-speaking east.