News / Europe

Pro-Russian Victory Day Attracts Small Crowd in Donetsk

A crowd of about 5000 separatist supporters participated in a celebration to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
A crowd of about 5000 separatist supporters participated in a celebration to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
With two days to go before pro-Russian separatists hold a referendum on whether to secede from Ukraine, they were only able to attract about 10 percent of the usual turnout for Victory Day.

The annual celebration of the Soviet Army’s defeat of Nazi Germany usually attracts as many as 50,000.

But with businesses and the official regional government canceling official celebrations, separatist supporters only half filled Lenin Square with about 5,000.

Moscow's Victory Day celebration

Meanwhile in Moscow, thousands of Russian troops marched on Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade in a display of the nation's massive military arsenal amid escalating tensions over Ukraine.
 
Putin watched from the stands as 11,000 Russian troops took part in Friday's parade marking Russia's victory in World War II.

Donetsk rebel leader undeterred
Singers join in the celebrations to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)Singers join in the celebrations to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
x
Singers join in the celebrations to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
Singers join in the celebrations to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
One of the top rebel leaders, Vladimir Makovich, the speaker of the presidium of the self-styled Donetsk Republic, wasn’t deterred by the poor turnout.

Makovich said it’s the first big public holiday for “the republic” and is significant and symbolical for the people of the region. The past, he said, guides us to the future.

But businessman Serhiy Taruta, the Kyiv-appointed regional governor of Donetsk, said an appeal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to delay Sunday’s referendum shows the Russian separatists are  on their own. He said the separatists expected the Russian army to come to support them here.

Taruta appealed to the insurgents to enter talks with Kyiv, saying dialogue is better than war.

The Donetsk separatists reject negotiations.
 
Masked separatist supporters were among the crowd participating in a celebration to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)Masked separatist supporters were among the crowd participating in a celebration to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
x
Masked separatist supporters were among the crowd participating in a celebration to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
Masked separatist supporters were among the crowd participating in a celebration to mark Victory Day in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine May 9, 2014. (Jamie Dettmer/VOA)
Makovich said the interim government in Kyiv is an illegal regime, accusing it of not observing the Geneva accord, the de-escalation deal hammered out by diplomats from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union.

The Kyiv “junta”, as he dubs the Kyiv government, is an aggressor, he said, and they behave like fascists, he claimed.

In the last week, which dozens of people died in clashes between separatists and Ukrainian security forces.

And there was no halt in skirmishing even for Victory Day.

Mariupol clashes

In the eastern port city of Mariupol, armed separatists and security forces clashed.
Eye witnesses contacted by phone say at least two people died and eight were wounded in the clashes.

But there are unconfirmed reports that the death toll could be higher with as many as eight pro-Russian militants slain.

Ukrainian troops used large-caliber weapons as they tried to re-take an occupied police headquarters in the city.

Residents reported black smoke billowing over the city and heavy fighting continuing.
Pro-Russian gunmen stormed the police headquarters Thursday.

The building holds one of the largest armories in the city, and separatists are using the weapons to defend their positions.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) reviews the troops during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square.
  • Russian World War II veteran Alexey Samokhin (C), 89, carries a red flag as he leads a procession during the Victory Day celebration in Divnogorsk, near Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.
  • Russian soldiers march during the Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany in Moscow.
  • Russian military planes fly above the Kremlin, with the Ivan the Great Bell Tower seen in the foreground, during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square.
  • Russian military aircraft trail smoke in the colors of the Russian tricolor above the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky during the Victory Day Parade in Moscow's Red Square.
  • Russian honor guard troopers ride during a Victory Day parade at the Red Square in Moscow.
  • Local residents carry a giant Russian flag as they march through the city after the Victory Day military parade in Sevastopol, Crimea.
  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (front L) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (C) watch the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square.
  • A Russian serviceman aboard a tank salutes during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid