Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pro-Russia Activists Declare East Ukraine Independent, Ask Putin to Send Troops

The seizure of government buildings in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists is being orchestrated by Moscow to create an excuse for a military invasion like in Crimea, Ukraine's prime minister said Monday. "Russia's scenario is division and destruction of Ukraine," said Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at a Cabinet meeting. "They plan for foreign troops to cross the border and attack the country. We won't let it happen." Armed gunmen took over the headquarters of the security services in Luhansk, 15 miles from the border with Russia. Luhansk is one of several cities in eastern Ukraine where secessionists have held protests in recent weeks. People erected barriers overnight on Luhansk's thoroughfare, and police have blocked all entrances to the city. Local media reported that pro-Russian demonstrators stormed the building Sunday, pelting it with eggs, stones, a smoke grenade and finally a firebomb. In the eastern city of Donetsk, pro-Russian separatists who seized the main administration building on the weekend and raised a Russian flag over it proclaimed Monday the creation of a "people's republic" independent of Ukrainian rule, according to Ukrainian and Russian media. In footage uploaded to the Internet, an unidentified pro-Russia activist in the provincial government headquarters in Donetsk asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to send peacekeeping troops to the region. "Without your support, without the support of Russia, it will be hard for us to resist the Kiev junta on our own," he said.


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