Ukraine crisis: Kharkiv mayor Hennadiy Kernes shot

The mayor of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine has been shot and critically wounded amid ongoing unrest in the region, BBC reports.

Hennadiy Kernes was reportedly shot in the back by unknown gunmen while out jogging, and is said to be undergoing emergency surgery in hospital.

Monday also saw pro-Russian separatists seize a local government building in Kostyantynivka in eastern Ukraine.

The US and EU are preparing to impose fresh sanctions against Russian individuals and companies.

Western nations accuse Moscow of supporting separatist gunmen who are occupying official buildings in cities across eastern Ukraine.

Mr Kernes used to be a supporter of the former pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych. He then dropped his support for the ousted president in favour of a united Ukraine.

He has been described as a “mini-oligarch” – a successful businessman wealthy enough to launch a career in politics.

Gunmen wearing uniforms with no insignias moved into the local administrative building in Kostyantynivka on Monday morning and raised the flag of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk Republic”.

They were also reported to be in control of the police station in the town, which is located between the town of Sloviansk and the city of Donetsk, both also controlled by separatists.

The separatists continue to hold seven Western military observers who were seized last week in the region.