Mayor of east Ukraine city shot and wounded

Masked pro Russian armed men stand at the city hall during negotiations about the release of foreign military observers being held by Ponomarev's group in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, April 27, 2014. At least one of the eight European military observers held prisoner by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine has been freed. Earlier in the day, the eight observers had been shown in public for the first time since they were detained on Friday and accused of spying for NATO. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The mayor of an eastern Ukrainian city has been shot and wounded amid separatist unrest, his office says.

The office of Hennady Kernes, the mayor of Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv, said Monday he has been wounded with a gunshot to his back. It said he is now undergoing surgery and "doctors are fighting for his life."

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.

Kernes first held a pro-Russian stance, but later changed to position himself as largely loyal to the Kiev government.