Ukraine's richest man Rinat Akhmetov has house surrounded by thousands of pro-Russian separatists

Group were armed with Kalashnikovs and Russian flags as they marched on the steel and coal magnate's home

Armed pro-Russian separatists have gathered outside the Donetsk home of Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, on a day where Ukranian citizens voted for their next president.

Reports from outside the billionaire’s home said that pro-Russian separatist forces armed with Kalashnikov’s and Russian flags had marched on the property chanting “Akhmetov is an enemy of the people”.

A group of more than 2,000 pro-Russian separatists and their supporters left a rally in Donetsk’s Lenin Square with the aim of confronting Mr Akhmetov, who is said to be worth over $12 billion.

Journalists reporting on the protest outside the property said that the atmosphere was tense and threatening.

A live webcam was set up outside the property to film the protests as the group continued to grow.

A spokesman for Mr Akhmetov, Jock Mendoza-Wilson, said that the coal and steel magnate was in Kiev but had wanted to return to Donetsk today so he could vote.

 

Pro-Russian protesters are angry at Mr Akhmetov who has been particularly vocal in denouncing the actions of separatists in Donetsk and the Donbass region.

On Tuesday, he encouraged those against the separatists to rally for peace inside the stadium of Shaktar Donetsk Football Club, which he owns.

After the rally, which attracted hundreds of supporters, Mr Akhmetov broadcast a stinging criticism of the separatists on his own television station, Ukrayina TV.

A number of the protestors were armed with Kalashnikovs A number of the protestors were armed with Kalashnikovs In the broadcast, Akhmetov said that people were tired of living in “fear and terror” and warned if the actions of the separatists continued he could “foresee the genocide of the Donbass".

He encouraged Ukrainians – including his own employees – to continue to stage “peaceful protests” until “peace was re-established".

Following the broadcast Denis Pushilin, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, posted on the party’s twitter feed: "Akhmetov has made his choice. Unfortunately, he chose against the people of Donbass. Paying taxes to Kiev means financing terrorism in Donbass."

There have also been threats from separatists that they will seize Mr Akhmetov’s assets in the Donbass.

Akhmetov is thought to be worth over $12 billion Akhmetov is thought to be worth over $12 billion The protests come on the day where Ukrainians have flocked to vote for the country’s next president.

In what some are touting as the most important election since the country gained independence in 1991, a high turnout is expected in western and central parts of Ukraine.

However, in eastern regions, many polling stations were unable to be opened.

In the Russian-speaking Donetsk region, it has been reported that only 20 per cent of polling stations have been opened, with none opened in the city itself.

Ukrainians are voting for their first elected leader since Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February.

The current favourite is the ‘Chocolate King’ Petro Poroshenko. The popular businessman is expected to beat his biggest rival for the leadership,Yulia Tymoshenko, when the votes are counted later today.

During Mr Poroshenko’s campaign he has promised to reunite and bring stability back to the Ukraine.  

Despite his intentions, clashes continue between government forces and pro-Russian insurgents.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us