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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs