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US Activists Plan to Call for Intl Probe of Odessa Massacre on 5th Anniversary

© Sputnik / Alex Maknoton / Go to the mediabankRally in commemoration of Odessa victims in London
Rally in commemoration of Odessa victims in London - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Odessa Solidarity Campaign, a project of the United National Antiwar Coalition, will deliver a letter to the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington calling on Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an international investigation into the 2014 massacre in Odessa, campaign coordinator Phil Wilayto told Sputnik.

On 2 May, 2014, pro-Kiev nationalists locked protesters in Odessa's House of Trade Unions before setting the building on fire. Almost 50 people died and around 250 others were injured in the clashes and the fire.

"We will be delivering a letter to the embassy calling on President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to honor the call of the relatives of the victims of the House of Trade Unions massacre for an international investigation into the massacre, and to order a stop to the harassment and political repression of the relatives and of journalists investigating the tragedy," Wilayto told Sputnik on Wednesday.

The Odessa Solidarity Campaign will sponsor a vigil on 2 May outside of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. Similar campaigns are planned for London, Vienna, Budapest and Moscow, according to Wilayto.

The House of Trade Unions building in Odessa on May 2, 2014 - Sputnik International
Seven US Cities Hold Solidarity Events on 4th Anniversary of Odessa Massacre
The campaign coordinator said that while the communication with people in Odessa is "very difficult now," thousands of people have been gathering outside the House of Trade Unions on the anniversary each year, and a similar event is expected this year.

There "may be hope" for a real investigation with the change of power in Ukraine, but it remains to be seen, especially given Zelensky's ties, according to Wilayto.

"Zelensky himself is beholden to the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, whose differences with [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko are more financial than principled," Wilayto said.

"If Zelensky decides to emerge as an independent figure who truly tries to be a Servant of the People then there may be hope. But that is not the pattern either in Ukraine or here in the United States," the campaign coordinator added.

The campaign believes that regardless of the position Zelensky assumes, it is critical to put the issue of international investigation forward before he even takes office.

READ MORE: Russian Embassy Slams Washington for Tacit Approval of Odessa Massacre

The investigation launched into the crimes committed in Odessa has resulted in only one conviction so far.

In January, Human Rights Watch slammed Ukrainian authorities for failing to ensure justice for the victims of the Odessa massacre, despite five years already passing since the tragedy.

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