Pro-Russian Protesters Storm Government Buildings in Three Eastern Ukraine Cities

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 6 2014 5:38 PM

Pro-Russian Protesters Storm Government Buildings in Three Eastern Ukraine Cities

483059479-pro-russian-supporters-wave-a-russian-flag-as-they
Pro-Russian supporters wave a Russian flag as they storm the regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk

Photo by Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of pro-Russian demonstrators took to the streets in the three eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kharkov and stormed government buildings, according to RT. The protesters in Donestk went one step further, and demanded a referendum to join Russia. Protesters are also demanding the release of riot police accused of killing protesters in Kiev, reports CNN. Ukraine’s government immediately pointed the finger at Moscow, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin was the one responsible for orchestrating the demonstrations, reports Reuters. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov vowed that police would restore order without resorting to violence and blamed Ukraine’s ousted president Viktor Yanukovich of conspiring with Putin.

483055287-pro-russian-protesters-hold-russian-national-flags
Pro-Russian protesters hold Russian national flags during the rally in Donetsk

Photo by Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images

"Putin and Yanukovich ordered and paid for the latest wave of separatist disorder in the east of the country. The people who have gathered are not many but they are very aggressive," Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. The Wall Street Journal highlights that this unrest, which it calls the most serious in the past month, comes after repeated Russian warnings that Moscow "is prepared to intervene to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine's east and south from alleged threats of attack by Ukrainian nationalists."

Although pro-Russian protests have been common in eastern Ukraine following Yanukovich’s ouster, the seizure of the government buildings and calls for a referendum appear to raise the stakes. Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov canceled a planned trip to Lithuania in order to deal with the unrest, which a senior official described as “a repeat of the Crimean scenario,” according to the Kyiv Post. In Donetsk alone some 1,000 people took part in storming the regional administration building, from where they hung a Russian flag from a second floor balcony.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine also appeared to be getting closer to a new gas war over the weekend after interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the country’s cabinet that Kiev would not pay for gas at the higher price Russia is now demanding, reports the Guardian. Last week, Russia almost doubled the price of gas for Ukraine, taking it from $268 per 1,000 cubic meters to $485.50.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.