Blast near parade wounds 2 in Kyiv

Two people were hurt in a blast caused by an "unknown object" in central Kyiv on Aug. 24 as Ukraine celebrated Independence Day, officials said, suggesting it could be the work of hooligans.

The incident, which occurred as U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis was visiting the country, occurred near the site of a military parade.

"At 14:06 p.m. we received information about an explosion of an unknown object," a police statement said.

"A man and a woman received bodily injuries," it said, adding that investigators and explosion experts were working at the scene on Grushevskogo street, near the building of the Ukrainian government.

The local television channel 112 showed a woman lying on the ground in the street near the government building.

Witnesses told the TV channel that the explosive device seemed to have been thrown from a passing car.

Officials quickly cordoned off the area and the wounded individuals were taken away, an AFP correspondent said.

Spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) told AFP that "so far our first version of the blast is hooliganism."  

Meanwhile, during the parade Mattis accused Russia of menacing Europe.

After attending a spirted and colorful independence day parade, Mattis met with President Petro Poroshenko and other top government leaders.

"Despite Russia's denials, we know they are seeking to redraw international borders by force," Mattis said.

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