Mayor of Kharkov, Ukraine shot in back, hospitalized – press service

Kharkov Mayor Gennady Kernes (RIA Novosti/Chekachkov Igor)RT News

The mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov, Gennady Kernes, has been shot in the back by unidentified gunmen, the city council’s press service reports.

At about 11:30 am (8:30 GMT) local time Kernes was taken to the local hospital. The City Hall’s website says that doctors are fighting to save his life.

“They shot him in the back from the forest,” Kernes’s friend Yury Sapronov told Vesti Ukrainy news outlet.“The injury is serious. His lung is pierced and his liver pierced all the way through.”  

A shell “allegedly from sniper rifle” was been found at the site where the mayor was shot, Irina Kushchenko from the public relations department of the city’s Executive Committee told RIA Novosti.

Kernes was shot while cycling, according to conflicting media reports, Yury Sidorenko from the mayor’s press service told RT. The doctors are currently operating, he added.

Sidorenko said he did not have any information about whether Kernes had regained consciousness.

Photo from

Photo from

He declined to comment about who was behind the shooting. He only said that Kernes “has been recently receiving a lot of threats from various people.”

According to the doctor treating Kernes, his wound is serious as his diaphragm has been damaged.

A mayor of Kharkov since March 2010, Kernes had been a strong supporter of President Viktor Yanukovich right till his ouster in February. Since then he supported the new Ukrainian authorities and kept his position.

The shooting comes a day after ultranationalists clashed with anti-government protesters in the city, leaving 14 people injured.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev condemned the attack on the Kharkov mayor. He said that despite his and Kernes’ political rivalry, the attack outraged him.

“Shooting at the politicians is wrong. Once again it shows that it is impossible to hold presidential elections until we reach consensus and civil peace,” he added.

Kharkov mayor and Party of Regions member Gennady Kernes was born June 27, 1959, in Kharkov, then in the Ukrainian SSR. He is a lawyer and manager by profession.

A miner in the late 70s, Kernes moved to working for state institutions and other enterprises in the 80s. His first foray into politics came in 1998, when he ran for the Kharkov City Council. That paved the way for a career in politics, resulting in the creation of the political group New Kharkov – New Possibilities, followed by a civil movement of the same name, which gained widespread popularity among citizens.

This led him to become secretary of the City Council for the second time in 2002, with the support of 90 percent of Kharkov’s population. This was after a brief period as deputy director of the Kharkov branch of the Trading House Gas of Ukraine until 2001.

In 2004, Kernes was an enthusiastic supporter of the Orange Revolution. Political alliances secured him the mayor’s post on October 31, 2010, after Mikhail Dobkin had become head of the regional state administration. The results, which were overwhelmingly in his favor again, were controversial and came under suspicion from critics. During his tenure as mayor, he has become well known among locals for his far-reaching city reforms and his contributions to development and charitable causes.

However, Kernes’s past is also entangled with Ukraine’s underworld – among other things, he was allegedly the boss of his own criminal organization, which gained notoriety in the region. He was also convicted of theft and fraud.

Since the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, he has been accused of fomenting separatism. In January, he gave himself a controversial 25 percent pay rise.

Kernes was awarded many political honors in his time. He is a father of three children. His hobbies, among other things, include actively promoting and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Thousands of anti-government demonstrations have swept eastern Ukraine since March, with administration buildings being seized in several cities, including Kharkov, the largest city.

At the beginning of March some 111 people were injured in clashes between anti-government protesters and radical nationalists in the city after the radical groups then seized the administration building. Commenting on the incident, Mayor Kernes said they were ultra nationalist elements “who hid their faces behind masks and had weapons, including automatic ones,” adding that “it turned out that these men came from western Ukraine – from Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk.”


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