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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid