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 China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid