Ukraine crisis: Pro-Russia protests spread in east as crowds of demonstrators storm government buildings

 

In Donetsk, 50 miles west of the Russian border, a large group of people, including many in masks carrying sticks and stones, surged into the provincial government building and smashed windows.

The protesters stormed regional government buildings in the industrial hub of Donetsk and security service offices in nearby Luhansk, waving Russian flags and demanding a Crimea-style referendum on joining Russia.

Protesters later seized  the regional administrative building in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, the Interfax news agency reported. All three cities lie close to Ukraine’s border with Russia.

The Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, vowed to restore order in eastern Ukraine without using violence and accused Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political base was in Donetsk, of conspiring with Mr Putin to fuel tensions.

 

“Putin and Yanukovych ordered and paid for the latest wave of separatist disorder in the east of the country. The people who have gathered are not many but they are very aggressive,” Mr Avakov said.

“The situation will come back under control without bloodshed. That is the order to law enforcement officers. But no one will peacefully tolerate the lawlessness of provocateurs.”

Acting President Oleksander Turchynov called an emergency meeting of security chiefs in Kiev, the parliamentary press service said.

Mainly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine has seen a sharp rise in tensions since Mr Yanukovych was overthrown in February and the advent of an interim government in Kiev that backs closer ties with the European Union. Russia has branded the new government illegitimate and has annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region, citing threats to its Russian-speaking majority.

Around 1,500 people protested in Donetsk yesterday before breaking into the regional administration building, where they hung a Russian flag from a balcony, a Reuters witness said. Protesters outside cheered and chanted: “Russia! Russia!”

In the Luhansk protest, three people were reportedly injured. “We don’t want to join the EU, we don’t want to join Nato. We want our children to live in peace,” an unnamed woman told Ukraine’s Channel Five.

Talking to the crowd over a loudspeaker, protest leaders in Donetsk said they wanted regional politicians to convene an emergency meeting to discuss a vote on joining Russia like the one in the Crimea region.

“Deputies of the regional council should convene and take the decision to carry out a referendum,” one of the protest leaders said, without identifying himself.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
Life and Style
health
News
i100
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?