News / Europe

Separatists Continue to Seize Buildings in East Ukraine

Pro-Russian activists hold a rally near the headquarters of the regional interior ministry to demand the resignation of its head Anatoly Naumenko in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, May 7, 2014.
Pro-Russian activists hold a rally near the headquarters of the regional interior ministry to demand the resignation of its head Anatoly Naumenko in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, May 7, 2014.
Moscow-backed separatists seized the prosecutor's office in the town of Luhansk, just hours before one of the top leaders of the pro-Russian militants was released from custody by the Ukrainian government. The freeing of Pavel Gubarev appears to be the first step in tentative talks between the separatists and politicians in Kyiv.

Across eastern Ukraine, the pro-Russian insurgency gathered momentum Wednesday with Moscow-backed separatists mounting actions and seizing more government buildings.

In Luhansk, 20 gunmen stormed the regional prosecutor's office and commanded staff to leave, instructing them not to remove documents or computers.

Bolotov acts

The self-proclaimed “people’s governor” of the Luhansk region, Valery Bolotov, told VOA he ordered his fighters to seize the building because the government in Kyiv has been using the prosecutors against them. By seizing the building, he said he was showing the Ukrainian government how serious the separatists are in their demands to split from Ukraine.
 
The self-styled mayor of Luhansk region, Valery Bolotov, answers journalists' questions in the seized regional government headquarters in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, May 5, 2014.The self-styled mayor of Luhansk region, Valery Bolotov, answers journalists' questions in the seized regional government headquarters in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, May 5, 2014.
x
The self-styled mayor of Luhansk region, Valery Bolotov, answers journalists' questions in the seized regional government headquarters in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, May 5, 2014.
The self-styled mayor of Luhansk region, Valery Bolotov, answers journalists' questions in the seized regional government headquarters in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, May 5, 2014.
Earlier, Ukrainian officials announced they were opening three major criminal cases against Bolotov, a former paratrooper, whose supporters already occupy the regional governor’s office and the local security services building.

Along with separatists in the neighboring region of Donetsk, Bolotov was ready to hold a controversial snap referendum on secession this weekend. He said all people will come to vote and everything is fully prepared.

But the May 11 referendum -- which many feared would thrust Ukraine into a full-fledged civil war -- is now in doubt.

In a surprise turn of events, Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday urged separatists to delay the vote in order to create the conditions for more negotiations. His request came after Kyiv authorities freed top separatist leader Pavel Gubarev in a prisoner exchange. He has been held in the Ukrainian capital for several weeks.

Mistrust abounds

The reaction in Kyiv and among separatists in eastern Ukraine has so far been a combination of suspicion and mistrust.

Pro-unity Ukrainians in the east fear Putin is seeking to manipulate the situation even more than they say he has been doing. And they express disappointment at the freeing of Gubarev, fearing that any negotiations will fail and the separatist uprising will become unstoppable.

Analysts say Kyiv has little choice but to try to kickstart a dialogue because its military campaign to get back full control of the neighboring Donetsk and Luhansk regions is failing.

Pro-unity activists here aren’t the only ones disappointed by all the political maneuvering.
 
Andrei, a 37-year-old father, says he always saw himself as a Ukrainian patriot, but after last week week’s fighting in the Black Sea town of Odessa, where at least 40 pro-Russian separatists were killed in a fire, he doesn’t know what to think. He said separatists are divided over the idea of delaying the referendum, but none of them trusts the Kyiv government.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wiktor Protsenko from: Kyiv
May 08, 2014 11:11 AM
In its unannounced war against Ukraine, Russia relies on covert operations which fall squarely within the definition of "international terrorism" under 18 U.S.C. § 2331. Specifically, armed operatives of Russia, acting under disguise, attempt to influence the policy of Ukrainian government by intimidation or coercion. They also try to affect the conduct of a government by assassinations and kidnapping, taking by force government buildings, police posts and military bases of Ukraine.

This activity is being conducted on large scale and over prolonged time period, despite condemnation by the USA, G-7, NATO, EU and UN. Please sign the petition urging the White House to officially designate Russia as "State sponsor of terrorism” - http://wh.gov/lwuL9 Such status of country would outlaw business of American companies with Russia. Even considering of the petition by Senate and President of USA creating great inconvenience Russian authorities.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid