Slovyansk in the east of Ukraine is one of an estimated 10 cities in the region where so called pro-Russian separatists have taken control of administrative buildings.
Acting Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov has responded with a call for government forces to re-launch an offensive against the separatists.
His action comes after the reported death of local politician Volodymyr Rybak. A video posted on an eastern Ukrainian website purported to show him being manhandled by people in masks.
Formal identification of his body has yet to be confirmed. Police said he suffered a violent death.
A government offensive to retake one of the towns in the east last week failed.
“The active stage of the anti-terror operation is continuing. Law enforcement bodies are working on the destruction of gangster groups in Kramatorsk, Slovyansk and other cities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” acting Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema told reporters.
In what separatists are calling ‘The People’s Republic of Donetsk’ one group of pro-Kyiv activists decided to stage a rally, but then discovered that no shops stocked ribbons in blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag.