KYIV, March 10 - Police said that 22 officers were injured in clashes with far-right protesters who tried to attack President Petro Poroshenko's motorcade ahead of this month’s election, RFE/RL reported.
Police said in a statement on Sunday that 19 officers were hospitalized the previous day in the city of Cherkasy, where supporters of the National Corps party tried to block Poroshenko's motorcade and called for arrests of figures linked to an alleged military corruption scandal.
The clashes in Cherkasy erupted after Poroshenko made a speech for the March 31 presidential polls.
Police said that two law enforcement officers were also injured in clashes with National Corps activists near the presidential offices in Kyiv, with one hospitalized.
Criminal investigations have been opened into the violence in both Kyiv and Cherkasy, about 150 kilometers southeast of the capital, police said.
A media investigation last week detailed alleged embezzlement schemes in Ukraine’s military industry, including a factory controlled by Poroshenko.
The investigation alleged that the son of close Poroshenko ally Oleh Hladkovskyy had organized a ring to smuggle spare military-equipment parts from Russia in 2015, a year after Moscow seized Ukraine's Crimea region and threw its support behind militant separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
After the report was broadcast on YouTube on February 25, Poroshenko announced that a probe has been launched into the allegations.
He also sacked Hladkovskyy from his post.
The developments come days after U.S. ambassador directed unusually scathing criticism at the Ukrainian government, urging authorities to replace a senior anti-corruption official and tackle the country’s corruption problem.
Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch said the government’s efforts have “not yet resulted in the anti-corruption or rule of law reforms that Ukrainians expect or deserve.”
Yovanovitch called for a complete audit of a state-owned military procurement company and greater transparency for defense contracts. (rfe/ez)