Around five-thousand people have flooded the streets of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, to mark Victory Day.
Some voiced their support for Sunday’s independence referendum in the region – organised by pro-Moscow rebels, who want to break away from Kyiv.
“The separation of the Donetsk republic is a first step and then let’s see. Maybe we could join Russia, but not Ukraine anyway,” said one woman in Donetsk.
Another woman added: “We give away 80 percent of our revenues to the rest of Ukraine and we live peacefully. But they didn’t want to wait until the legal elections and look at what they did.”
A World War II veteran said: “Since old times, we’ve always wanted to be united, but not to be separate. It’s good for the economy and politics. It’s profitable to be with Ukraine. Other people want to be with Russia.”
Those behind Sunday’s referendum have said little about what a so-called future ‘republic’ would look like.
But the west fears the vote has the potential to tear Ukraine apart – even plunge it into civil war.