In Ukraine, pro-Russian militants have seized a second building in the eastern city of Slavyansk: the local headquarters of the state security service.
Armed militants took over the city’s police headquarters just hours earlier.
Slavyansk is about 150 km from the border with Russia.
The militants seized hundreds of police handguns and gave them to pro-Russian protesters outside.
Sergei, who did not give his last name, is a masked member of a so-called defence group. He explained: “Our people want to live quietly and peacefully, without the junta who seized power in Kyiv and so that we’re not under America and the West. We don’t want to be their slaves. We want to be with Russia.”
There was no sign of Ukrainian police or military around the seized building.
Masked men armed with pistols and rifles stood guard outside.
The new leadership in Kyiv says it is part of a Kremlin plan to dismember Ukraine.
Moscow denies having any designs on other regions of Ukraine and says it has not provided support to the militants.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine must be protected from possible persecution by the interim authorities in Kyiv.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov promised a “very tough” response to the building seizure in Slavyansk by, what he described on his Facebook page as, “terrorists.”
“Armed men in camouflage uniforms seized the police department in Slavyansk. The response will be very tough because there is a difference between protesters and terrorists,” said Avakov on the Facebook post.
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