As night fell on the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the standoff continued over the government building occupied by pro-Russian supporters since Sunday.
Having ignored Kyiv’s offer of amnesty and a threat of force which failed to materialise, the activists occupying a building in Luhansk are digging in.
Speaking from inside the building in Lunhansk, Alexei Kayakin, representing the South-East Army said: “The government classify us as terrorists and dangerous people. They try to persuade people that we are keeping hostages here and there are no hostages in this building. Everyone who is here is here of their own free will. There is not a single person who is being kept here against their will.”
The interim prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk vowed to give the eastern cities more powers and offered to meet the groups calling for a referendum to join Russia. He is hoping to avoid another Crimea-like annexation by Moscow at all costs.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian warships stationed in the waters surrounding Crimea have begun to leave their positions.
However, a clear timeframe for the navy’s full withdrawal has yet to be announced.