Miners in eastern Ukraine say they are ready to declare autonomy. Angered by what they see as provocative behaviour by the opposition, workers in Donetsk, where Viktor Yanukovich has a bedrock of support, have indicated they will vote to move away from western Ukraine if the crisis is not resolved. One referendum on regional status is already planned for Sunday. “The referendum is the answer to the illegal actions of the opposition,” one miner remarked. “Why shouldn’t we hold it?”
“If there is no other solution, then why not?” another man added. “We haven’t stopped working, while they’re on strike,” a colleague said. “What are they going to live on? Do they think we’re going to feed them, or what?” Analysts say the prospect of Ukraine’s disintegration is still remote, but the crisis has inflamed old divisions between the mainly agricultural west and the largely industrial east, which holds 5 percent of the world’s mineral resources.