The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said that “aggressive citizens” began to pelt the buses with stones, and that one man tried to hit police with a car.
“Those people who today threw stones at the evacuees … and law enforcement officers, injured nine police officers, one of them has serious injuries, we will make a decision on their punishment,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.
Police opened criminal proceedings after the clash, the ministry said.
Video circulating on social media appeared to show residents protesting prior to the evacuees’ arrival, blocking roads and confronting police.
Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have sought to ease tensions over the returnees for the last two days.
In a show of solidarity, Ukraine’s Health Minister Zoriana Skaletska said Thursday that she would spend the 14-day quarantine “in the same space, the same conditions” as the evacuees.
“Unfortunately, not all of us can be proud of the same human reaction. Attempts to block the roads, block the hospitals, not allow Ukrainian citizens to Ukraine — this does not show the best side of our character,” he wrote.
“The Ukrainian always remains Ukrainian. A temporary stay in Wuhan or emigration to Canada does not make him a stranger to his country,” he added.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior said the returnees included 45 Ukrainian citizens and 27 citizens of other countries, including Argentina, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Montenegro, Panama and Israel.
The bulk of worldwide infected cases of the virus, which stands at over 76,600, are in mainland China. At least 2,200 people have died from the virus.