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Pro-Russia East Ukrainians storm gov't buildings

Iran Press TV

Sun Apr 6, 2014 3:43PM GMT

Pro-Russia protesters in Ukraine's eastern cities of Donetsk and Lugansk have stormed government buildings.

According to reports, at least two thousand people gathered outside Donetsk regional administration building on Sunday and broke into the premise. The demonstrators tore down the Ukrainian flag from the building and put up the Russian one instead.

The building was targeted by majority Russian-speaking demonstrators in Donetsk in protest against what they called coup-appointed leaders in Kiev and the city.

Donetsk, situated close to the Russian border, is considered as a stronghold of ousted Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. The city council has refused to recognize Ukraine's new pro-European government and called for a referendum on the region's status.

In the nearby city of Lugansk, protesters also reportedly forced their way into the office of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).

The demonstrators demand the immediate release of detained activists as well as a referendum to determine their future.

Pro-Russia rallies have been a common scene across eastern Ukrainian cities over the past weeks.

The protests gained momentum after Ukraine's Crimean territory declared independence from the former Soviet state and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, in which 96.8 percent of the participants voted for rejoining Russia, with a turnout of 83.1 percent.

On March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law documents that officially made the Black Sea peninsula part of the Russian territory despite condemnation from the West and the new Ukrainian government.

The move sparked angry reactions from the United States and the European Union, both imposing sanctions against a number of Russian officials and authorities in Crimea.


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