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Former Ukrainian minister injured in clashes

Kiev, Jan 11 : Ukraine's former interior minister and leading opposition figure Yury Lutsenko was hospitalised after he was injured in clashes here between protesters and police Saturday.


Lutsenko was hit on the head in the morning. His wife said he was in intensive care, Xinhua reported.

A total of 11 opposition members were sent to hospital following the violence outside a court which Friday sentenced three people to six-year imprisonment for attempting to blow up a statue of Vladimir Lenin in 2011.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's interior ministry said about 20 of its officers were injured in the clashes, the latest in the month-long face-off between the opposition and the government over whether Kiev should partner with the European Union or Russia.

Lutsenko, 49, served under pro-Western former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. He was jailed for embezzlement and abuse of power in 2010, but was pardoned in 2013.

He later founded the Third Republic Group, which focuses on integration of European countries and de-monopolisation of the economy.

Lutsenko, believed to be mulling a run in the 2015 presidential race, has said integration with the European Union would improve Ukraine's economy.

Ukraine has been hit by protests since late 2013, when President Viktor Yanukovych pulled out of a deal with the European Union, while striking another with Russia that gave Kiev a better price for gas imports.

--IANS (Posted on 11-01-2014)

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