By Rebecca Shabad - 04/28/14 09:11 AM EDT
The mayor of Ukraine’s second-largest city was in critical condition Monday after he was shot and wounded, according to multiple reports.
Hennady Kernes, mayor of Kharkiv, was shot in the back.
The mayor went into surgery and “doctors are fighting for his life,” his office told the Associated Press.
Kharkiv is part of the region in eastern Ukraine city where pro-Russian separatists have either taken over government buildings or have held protests against the government in Kiev.
The mayor first expressed he sided with the pro-Russian groups, but then later said he was loyal to Kiev, the AP notes.
It’s unclear who shot the mayor and why they did it.
The report comes as President Obama announced a new round of sanctions against Russia on Monday, targeting top officials close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last week, Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Tuchynov, announced his government’s “anti-terrorist” operation would resume to root out pro-Russian separatists after two bodies were found.
“The terrorists who effectively took the whole Donetsk region hostage have now gone too far," he said.
Both bodies were found to be “brutally tortured.” One of them belonged to a local politician, Volodymyr Rybak. He was a councilor in the town of Gorlivka.