Violence escalates in divided east Ukraine

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Violence escalates in divided east Ukraine

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There have been more outbreaks of violence in east Ukraine as protesters who were holding a unity march in Donetsk soon experienced at first hand.

About 1000 people took part in the rally but despite their numbers they were soon confronted by pro-Russian militants.

It appears that calling for a united Ukraine is becoming increasingly dangerous. At least 15 of the marchers were hospitalised and four others were reportedly abducted.

Organisers of the march accused the Donetsk police of doing little to keep the two sides apart.

In Kharkiv, the mayor is said to be fighting for his life in hospital after being shot in the back on the outskirts of the city.

Officials have yet to comment on who might be responsible.

Hennady Kernes was a staunch opponent of the pro-West demonstrations that toppled President Yanukovych but he has since softened his stance towards Kyiv.

Meanwhile a team of negotiators sent by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe to gain the release of seven captive military observers have left the town of Slovyansk empty handed.

Hostage taking is on the increase as pro-Russian militias see it as a way to cement control in eastern Ukraine.