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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid