Donetsk calm after violent Thursday night

Donetsk calm after violent Thursday night
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Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, where Russia has said it was prepared to intervene to take Russian-speakers under its protection was quiet on Friday.

Moscow maintains the Ukrainian authorities have “lost control” after last night’s clashes.

On Friday the city of a million people, the powerbase of fugitive ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, was on edge, with some fearing the calm before a storm.

“There were two opinions, two sides, many people gathered from both sides. We just probably need to live through all of this, be patient and time will help,” said one woman.

Another was interviewed in mid-conversation with a man. “I want a federation,” she said. “Not the Russian Federation, but within Ukraine. Yes, and who are you to tell me what to think? It was provocateurs like you who came yesterday.”

“Those pro-Russian people stabbed Ukrainians to death yesterday,” responded the man. “Should it be that way? We just need to chase them out of here.”

“It is you who we need to chase out of here to your Western Ukraine,” said the woman, claiming the last word on the exchange.

Some witnesses said Thursday night’s violence started when pro-Russian protesters broke through police lines and attacked a pro-Ukrainian rally.

One person was stabbed to death, the local 22-year-old press officer for the Ukrainian Nationalist Svoboda party. Another four people were seriously injured. Witnesses added it seemed some of the pro-Russians had arrived in vehicles with Russian number plates.

On Friday the governor of Donetsk claimed the pro-Russian demonstrators were citizens of the Russian Federation, and has declared a day of mourning for the victims.

Local medical authorities said all the casualties were Ukrainians. Four people have been arrested for allegedly starting the violence.