Divisions widen in Ukraine as Kyiv is urged to rein in pro-Russian separatists

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Divisions widen in Ukraine as Kyiv is urged to rein in pro-Russian separatists

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Ukraine is becoming increasingly divided with protesters in Kyiv now demanding that the government get rid of pro-Russian activists causing chaos in the east.

The country’s interim leaders have been roundly criticised by the Maidan crowd (Independence Square) for not acting decisively in Donetsk and other cities where separatists have seized buildings.

Ukrainian paratroopers have been seen taking part in military exercises near Slovyansk – one of several cities where a government ultimatum to hand over weapons was firmly ignored.

Together with a belief that Russia is stirring up the unrest, pressure is increasing on the government to act.

However calls by interim president Oleksandr Turchynov for UN peacekeepers to be deployed while a referendum on the future of eastern Ukraine be held have been dismissed by activists in Slovyansk.

In Dontesk those holed up in the administrative headquarters of the province which forms the heartland of Ukraine’s heavy industry have sought Moscow’s protection if they are attacked.

It is a move which has upped the rhetoric between Washington and Moscow while they both claim to want a diplomatic solution.

Our correspondent Sergio Cantone who is in Donetsk said:

“The majority of the people of this area feel they are hostages to fortune . Almost all of the official buildings of the region are being occupied by an active and organised minority, whilst a silent majority seems to be living passively in parallel.”