Participants from a large pro-Russian rally seized control of the state administration building in Donetsk on Sunday.
They’re demanding a referendum on the region, similar to the one that led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
They’re also angry at the arrests of high-profile pro-Russian activists.
One protester felt the West ignored Russian sympathisers in Ukraine:
“I want to support my people. We are against the Kiev government, we are against fascism. I want a customs union with Russia. Kiev doesn’t hear us, the European Union doesn’t hear us. I want to appeal to the EU – let them come to Donetsk, to Donbas, and hear our voices. They only hear voices in Kiev.”
Many pro-Russian Ukrainians simply believe the current government does not represent their interests.
Aysa, another protester, told euronews:
“I care about what will happen tomorrow to our country. I’m not against separation but I do not recognise the current government because we now have oligarchs in charge again.”
Elsewhere, Russian flags were also carried, and Russian songs sung in the eastern city of Kharkiv. The security agency headquarters in Luhansk were occupied.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking southern and eastern regions have been emboldened by Russian troops, which are still stationed near Ukraine’s eastern border.