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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Officials Back Tatar

KIEV () -- Tatars who rioted over the weekend were the victims of extortion and police corruption, top Crimean officials have told the regional parliament.

"This is all a result of mafia problems,'' Vitaly Kirichenko, head of Ukrainian Security Services in Crimea, told deputies.

Kirichenko and other top government officials reported to lawmakers on clashes last Sunday between Tatars and police in which two demonstrators were killed and 10 others injured.

Tatar leaders maintain that the demonstrations were aimed at dramatizing the ties between police and gangsters that they said led to the slayings last week of two Tatar market vendors.