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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
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 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 US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
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 Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs