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On The Scene: Brian Padden Reports from East Ukraine

  • Brian Padden

Pro-Russian activists with Russian flag sitting at a barricade at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 23, 2014.

Pro-Russian activists with Russian flag sitting at a barricade at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 23, 2014.

Away from the two government buildings being held by pro-Russian separatists, normal life goes on in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk despite threats of rising tensions.

Many residents are concerned that Ukraine's decision on Wednesday to restart anti-terror operations against separatists could draw the region into a military confrontation between Ukraine and Russia.

Three-quarters of the inhabitants of Donetsk province, speak Russian as a native language.

But since pro-Russian activists took over two municipal buildings in Donetsk, they have held fewer rallies in the streets.

Yulia Sadan, who works at the Coffee Street Café, said now it is back to business as usual in the city.

“When there were rallies the main street was closed and there were fewer customers, but now everything is calm in the city,” Sadan said. “People are walking in the streets. It's nice and warm.”

The Ukrainian flag still flies over the Bank of Russia despite rumors that it was to be replaced by a Russian flag.

Parents rent tricycles for children to ride in Lenin Square near a small group of protesters.

Still. Donetsk residents are wary over the Ukraine government’s possible next moves and conflicted over Ukraine's decision to get tough on pro-Russian separatists.

Resident Vladimir Zosimov said the government should negotiate more.

“Very Bad,” he said. “There is no dialogue and this is already sad. And if there will be more victims it will be even more sad.”

But many people think it is time for action, people like Vitaliy who did not want to say his last name.

“There needs to be more decisive moves toward the stabilization of the events in the region,” he said. “That is not only my opinion but the majority of Donetsk residents, we are not in favor what is happening.”

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