Government buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian supporters despite the expiry of Kyiv’s ultimatum for them to leave or face the use of force on Friday.
The groups have been occupying the buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk since Sunday and continue to build up barricades in anticipation of their forcible removal.
On Thursday the acting president of Ukraine had extended an amnesty to the rebels in exchange for surrendering their weapons, an offer which looks unlikely to be accepted with pro-Russian groups in the eastern cities repeating their calls for referenda to join Russia.
Meanwhile in Odessa, more than 7,000 people marched through the city calling for further federalisation of the country and for Russian to be made the official language, according to a reporter for German news channel ARD.
With Moscow’s recent annexation of Crimea, the situation in Ukraine remains tense.