Tension grows amid calls in eastern Ukraine for Crimea-style referendum

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Tension grows amid calls in eastern Ukraine for Crimea-style referendum

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Pro-Russia demonstrators have stormed the local headquarters of Ukraine’s security service in the eastern city of Donetsk.

They urged police to quit rather than cooperate with the new authorities in Kyiv and demanded the release of a jailed former official.

Many believe their part of the country should also have a chance to vote on breaking away.

One woman said that a referendum should have four options:
“Federation, confederation, the south-east remaining in Ukraine, or joining Russia. All people’s views should be taken into account,” she said.

But others in Donetsk want their city to stay part of Ukraine. Some demonstrating in favour of this say they have been attacked by pro-Moscow activists.

“They threw stones and grenades at us, beat us with sticks and used tear gas,” said one man. “When we got into the bus, everyone was injured.”

A Ukrainian nationalist was stabbed to death when pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine demonstrators clashed in Donetsk on Thursday. Some believe Moscow could use the unrest as a pretext for military intervention.

Our correspondent in the city, Angelina Kariakina, says that the situation remains tense with pro-Russian activists rallying
and demanding more regional autonomy.

“At the same time, supporters of the Independence Square movement are in shock after being attacked as they demonstrated in support of a united Ukraine,” she said. “They believe there’s an attempt to spread fear in Donetsk and across the region.”