News / Europe

In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadowsi
X
April 14, 2014 2:12 AM
Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows
Henry Ridgwell
Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention.  Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents.

In the middle of a pro-Russian crowd gathered in Donetsk, Kolya - a young man barely out of his teens - is trying to go unnoticed.  It is not easy.

He is holding up a digital camera that’s live-streaming the event to a pro-Ukrainian website, so that fellow anti-Russian activists can monitor what is happening.  Kolya manages to infiltrate inside the barricades.  It is a dangerous game, but he emerges unscathed.

Later, Kolya demonstrates the radio app on the same device that like-minded activists use to coordinate their actions. “It is how we find guys who want to be in Ukraine ... who want to defend the Donetsk region from Russian occupation,” he explained.

In Donetsk, Orthodox priests are putting themselves on the frontline.

On a central intersection, below monuments bearing old Soviet emblems, they fly the blue and yellow Ukrainian colors and hold hourly prayers for national unity. In a city elsewhere adorned with Russian insignia, it is a brave stance.

Pietro Matyshenko, a priest from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchy, said they are in constant danger. “At first we began praying in the central Lenin Square in Donetsk, but we were attacked with bats and stones,” he said. “Still people are aggressive and evil, and they come here to try to destroy the tent.”

Inside a café overlooking the intersection, pro-unity activists gather to watch over the priests’ tent.  In hushed tones, they plot how to respond to the pro-Russian uprisings.

Sergiy Yeryiomin is head of the council of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Self-Defense Force. “What could happen is a full civil war, with a resistance movement,” Yeryiomin said. “People would not stay silent to Russian intervention.  They would have problems here, it would not be like in Crimea.”

Pro-unity demonstrators are trying to counter their pro-Russian opponents.  Hundreds turned out for a rally in Donetsk Saturday, linking hands along one of the main roads in a sign of unity linking east and west - an act repeated in cities across the country.

“East and west are together,” says this woman.  “I want Ukraine to be a free and independent.  We Ukrainians are all brothers,” said one protester.

In Donetsk, there are plenty who would disagree.  So far the two sides have stayed apart.  Both are preparing for conflict.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: marshall from: boston,usa
April 16, 2014 10:07 AM
i see why someone would outright ban this station.propaganda od the finest order.anti russian activists? you mean nato butt kissing neo nazi party , for they are the only ones opposing protesters in south and eastern ukraine.hundreds of anti russian protesters ? show us some pictures of those " anti russian " protesters , thats all a bunch of bologni .these peacefull protesters in south-east of ukraine understand the threat posed by nato trying to muscle its way into ukraine and set up shop on russias borders and they pretty much all agree. NO NATO IN EASTERN UKRAINE.. PERIOD.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs