News / Europe

Pro-Russia Demonstrators Defy Ukraine's Ultimatum

Pro-Russian Demonstrators Defy Ukraine's Ultimatumi
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 15, 2014 10:21 AM
Pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine stormed another police station Monday, as they continued to defy a government deadline to vacate occupied buildings in exchange for amnesty. Ukraine’s president has called for UN peacekeepers to help with an anti-terror operation against the separatists. Henry Ridgwell reports from the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
Pro-Russian Demonstrators Defy Ukraine's Ultimatum
Henry Ridgwell
Pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine stormed another police station Monday as they continued to defy a government deadline to vacate occupied buildings in exchange for amnesty. Ukraine’s president has called for U.N. peacekeepers to help in an anti-terror operation against the separatists.

Monday was meant to signal the start of the Kyiv government’s military assault. Instead, the pro-Russian protesters gained more ground, smashing their way into the police headquarters in the city of Horlivka near Donetsk.

One Western journalist was attacked - the latest in a series of incidents involving foreign media.

Later, the pro-Russian gunmen declared that the police had switched sides.

An unnamed gunman announced that “All the heads of regional administrations [in the east] have switched to the side of the people and refused to recognize the government in Kyiv."

In Slovyansk, heavily armed gunmen seized a nearby airfield, which they claim had been used by government forces Sunday.

The head of the self-proclaimed Slovyansk Self-Defense Force, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, appealed to Moscow for help.

"Respected president of the Russian Federation,” he said, “we urge you to personally pay attention to the current situation and help us as your powers and possibilities permit.”

Western governments say Russia already is behind the protests. Military observers say the protesters’ modern weaponry is identical to that used by the Russian military.

Moscow denies involvement.

In Kyiv, frustrated Ukrainians took to the streets to demand the government take action against separatists in the east.

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov questioned police loyalty.

“Today they are demonstrating an inability to defend citizens, and actively withstanding the terrorism and separatist movement,” he said.

However, the president held out the possibility of holding a referendum on Ukraine’s future.

That apparent concession emboldened protesters in the eastern city of Donetsk. On stage, speakers demanded a referendum while some in the crowd answered with chants of ‘Russia.’ But within the protest movement, there are disagreements.

Local resident Dima welcomed the possibility of a referendum.

“I want the referendum," he said.  "Everyone should be asked how they want to live.  Personally, I want to live in Russia.”

Another Donetsk resident, Anatoli Bitavych, disagreed.

“I would vote to stay in Ukraine," he said. "I want to live in Ukraine, but to be separated from the center and the west.”

Talk of a referendum may help to de-escalate the situation.

But as protesters occupy more state buildings, the authority of the Kyiv government in eastern Ukraine appears to be weakening by the day.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jeremy
April 14, 2014 5:43 PM
Lady, if you want to live in Russia, MOVE TO RUSSIA. Don't try to bring Russia to you.
In Response

by: cc from: moscow
April 16, 2014 9:20 AM
Dear Jeremy! Just imagine the situation: say, you live in some Idaho (or elsewhere) and some... say... Mexicans or Israeli come to the state and demand: "This state belongs to us now. You may stay. If you still want to be American - leave your home, your house, your job, your friends and go to a state which is still American!" Will you? If you were born and have spent your life there, will you then? And suddenly you understand that in Idaho there are 1000 more people who want to remain Americans and don't want to leave their homes - what will you do altohether? Won't you protest?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More