Ukraine's prime minister has accused Russia of backing separatist demonstrations including the seizure of government buildings in three eastern Ukrainian cities on Sunday.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a cabinet meeting Monday in Kyiv that Russia is behind the unrest that rose up Sunday in the eastern cities of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv on Sunday. He said the demonstrations are clearly part of a plan to destabilize the situation and allow "foreign" troops to cross the border and seize Ukrainian territory.
Mr. Yatsenyuk said Russian troops remain stationed within 30 kilometers of Ukraine.
Reuters news agency reports Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchnyov, has also blamed Russia for Sunday's demonstrations and accused them of "playing out the Crimean scenario." He vowed that anti-terrorist measures will be carried out.
Earlier, Ukraine's interior ministry announced that pro-Russian gunmen have seized state security headquarters in the eastern city of Luhansk, one of the cities in which anti-government protests took place Sunday. Authorities say police have closed all roads into the city.
The demonstrators marched in Luhansk and another eastern city, Donetsk, where masked protesters threw firecrackers at riot police.
The marchers demanded the cities hold referendums on whether to split with Ukraine and become part of Russia -- the same kind of referendum held in Crimea last month.
Protesters broke into a government building in another eastern city, Kharkiv, Sunday, but interior minister Arsen Avakov later said those protesters had been cleared from the premises. He, too, blamed Russia for the unrest.
Ukrainians have been split between those loyal to the Kyiv government and those calling for stronger ties to Russia, following Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula last month.