Ukrainian Mayor Recovering From Assassination Attempt in Haifa Hospital

Hennady Kernes, who was shot while jogging last week and was flown to Israel to receive medical attention has regained consciousness.

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Hennady Kernes
Hennady KernesCredit: Reuters

Hennady Kernes, the Jewish mayor of Kharkiv, who was shot while jogging last week and was flown to Israel for medical treatment last week, is recovering from surgery and has recently regained consciousness, his doctors said.

Kernes, 54, who turned against his former Russian backers and began siding with Ukrainian nationalists following the February coup in Kiev, was shot Monday.

The shooting came a day after Ukrainian nationalists clashed with pro-Russian protesters in Kharkiv, leaving 14 people injured.

Kernes is Jewish, but there has been no mention of an anti-Semitic motive in the shooting, and he was a key figure in the middle of the confrontations between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces in the city.

Kharkiv is part of the region in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian gunmen have either seized government buildings or staged protests to demand greater autonomy or outright annexation by Russia. Pro-Russian militants hold at least 10 cities in the east as well as government buildings in several others.

In March, Kernes was placed under house arrest while police investigated his alleged connections to kidnapping and threats.

The mayor's political background was pro-Russian, but he switched sides under pressure from anti-Russian forces that took power in Kiev. He had been a major supporter of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych, but both of them fled to Russia after anti-Russian protesters overthrew the Kiev regime. Kernes returned to Kharkiv shortly afterward, saying he no longer supported Yanukovych.

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