A Ukrainian national guardsman died on Monday from gunshot wounds, and about 100 others were injured in a grenade blast outside parliament, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister said on Facebook.
Police and nationalist protesters clashed outside the Supreme Rada on Monday afternoon after a controversial vote to give greater power to separatist regions in the east.
"A soldier from the National Guard has died of a gunshot wound in the heart," Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, said on Facebook. "Apart from using grenades, the provocateurs were using firearms, fired secretly," he said, referring to reports that several grenades had been thrown from a crowd at the parliament during a rowdy debate on autonomy for rebel-held areas.
The blast took place as parliament deliberated constitutional changes intended to give its eastern regions a special status that it hopes will blunt their separatist drive, but divisions among pro-Western lawmakers suggest the changes will face a rough ride to becoming law.
At a rowdy session, a total of 265 deputies — 39 more than the number required for the law to go through — voted in favor in the first reading of a “decentralization” bill, backed by President Petro Poroshenko's political bloc and his government.
But many coalition allies, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, spoke against the changes. It is not yet clear whether Poroshenko will be able to whip up the 300 votes necessary for it to get through a second and final reading later this year.
Approval of legislation for special status for parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are largely controlled by pro-Russian rebels, is a major element of a peace agreement reached in Minsk, Belarus, in February.
Though a ceasefire has been under pressure from sporadic shelling and shooting, which government troops and rebels blame on each other, Western governments see the deal as holding out the best possible prospect for peace and are urging Ukraine to abide by the letter of the Minsk agreement.