Protesters waving Russian flags have seized the regional administrative building in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
It’s the third state premises in eastern Ukraine to be occupied by pro-Russian demonstrators in the space of 24 hours, according to Interfax newsagency.
All three cities lie close to Ukraine’s border with Russia.
Earlier, similar groups seized the offices of the state security services in Luhansk, demanding that regional lawmakers carry out a referendum on joining Russia.
One Russian protester explained: “I want to go home, you understand, I want to see my family in Russia and for that should I need to get a foreign passport to cross the border? To see my aunts, my sisters, my cousins? Who needs that?”
Around 15,000 protesters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk stormed the regional government building. They replaced the Ukrainian flag on the building with a Russian one.
The protesters who had surrounded the building cheered, chanting “Russia!”