Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has criticized a mob that attacked buses carrying dozens of Ukrainians evacuated from China amid concerns about the COVID-19 virus.
Hundreds of people, fearing the evacuees could bring the virus to Ukraine, attacked the buses with rocks and metal bars near a National Guard clinic about 300 kilometers east of the capital, Kyiv.
Several hundred police were mobilized to the scene, and about two dozen protesters were arrested. Most of the detainees were released after being held briefly.
Nine police officers were reportedly injured.
"We keep saying that Ukraine is in Europe," Zelenskiy said in Kyiv. "But yesterday it seemed like we were in Europe in the Middle Ages."
Zelenskiy also said "we know that someone deliberately and purposefully sowed panic among the people."
The 45 evacuated Ukrainians, 27 nationals from other countries who were also evacuated from China, and the medical staff and aircraft crew will spend the next two weeks in quarantine at the clinic, officials said. None of them has shown symptoms of the virus.