Domino Effect? Another Ukrainian Province Demands Independence
Pro-Russian demonstrators stormed local government buildings in Donetsk, Ukraine Sunday and Monday, demanding to declare independence from Kiev and clashing violently with police forces.
Donetsk has been the seat of pro-Russian tensions since earlier this month, when neighboring Crimea held a controversial referendum vote and was annexed by Moscow after a de facto military invasion of the region.
But while protests were heated after the vote, none came to all-out violence - until now. Raw footage captured by a Reuters reporter at the scene shows demonstrators, waving the Russian flag and shouting slogans for independence, climbing over walls and fences into the government building.
According to Interfax, the protestors demand a referendum vote of their own by May 11, 2014.
One man, an unidentified pro-Russia activist in the provincial government headquarters in Donetsk, even uploaded a request to Russian President Vladimir Putin to send "peacekeeping troops" to the region, according to the National Post.
“Without your support, without the support of Russia, it will be hard for us to resist the Kiev junta on our own,” he said, referring to Ukraine's interim government. The video footage is making the rounds on Ukrainian and Russian social media sites.
Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russia of egging on the protestors, and even sending in more troops to perform more de facto invasions of the provinces on the Ukrainian-Russian border.
“The plan is to destabilize the situation, the plan is for foreign troops to cross the border and seize the country’s territory, which we will not allow,” he said, adding that people engaged in the unrest have "distinct Russian accents."
Yatsenyuk added that the Russian troops are allegedly stationed less than thirty kilometers (18.6 miles) from the border.