The port of Mariupol appears to be under the control of pro-Russian groups following Friday’s gun battles which claimed several lives.
Kyiv’s security forces have gone.
Young men armed with sticks wearing balaclavas patrolled the streets on Saturday.
Some surveyed an armoured vehicle – apparently abandoned as the army retreated – and then set alight.
Local people said the Ukrainian military attacked the police station to oust activists.
But despite the hostility towards Kyiv, there are pro-Ukrainians too.
“The pro-Russian activists don’t understand what they are doing now, they’re destroying their lives and their country, I’m just very sorry for me and for my country,” said Sergey Balyim, an engineer and veteran of the Afghan war.
But the casualties from Friday’s fighting have compounded the anger in Mariupol.
The Kyiv authorities are compared to Nazi Germany as the population becomes increasingly polarised.
Euronews correspondent in the city, Sergio Cantone said: “What is happening in Mariupol is digging a deep hole in society in southeast Ukraine, in Donetsk and the Donbass region. That will have a strong impact on what will happen next, with the May 11 referendum and the presidential elections (set for May 25).”