In the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk armed pro-Russian groups manned their own self-built checkpoints over night.
The sudden appearance of men with specialised Russian weapons and identical uniforms without insignia has caused alarm back in Kyiv. Something similar happened before Russian troops seized Crimea.
Sketchy reports of a car shooting in Slovyansk in the early hours of Monday morning which according to local sources left several wounded, reflect the raised tensions.
The occupation of government buildings and police stations has taken place in several several cities across the Donetsk region.
In Makyivka the city hall has been taken over by unarmed protesters and a new “peoples” mayor proclaimed. The action has support among Russian speakers:
“Ukraine has been independent for 23 years, but independence from whom? What we see in this country is a mess, the biggest mess ever. Some live in luxury while others suffer from poverty,” said one protester.
Many ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s east widely fear that the new pro-Western Ukrainian government will suppress them. The pro-Russian protesters claim to be fighting for a better future.