i’ve added two more donbass stories and updated this

Police vacating an administration building in Kharkov on Sunday

Pro-Russia protesters seize Ukraine buildings, Kiev blames Putin
Lina Kushch, Thomas Grove, Reuters, Apr 6 2014

DONETSK/KIEV, – Pro-Russian protesters seized state buildings in three east Ukrainian cities on Sunday, triggering accusations from the pro-European government in Kiev that Pres Putin was orchestrating “separatist disorder.” The protesters stormed regional government buildings in the industrial hub of Donetsk and security service offices in nearby Lugansk, waving Russian flags and demanding a Crimea-style referendum on joining Russia. Protesters also later seized the regional administrative building in Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, Interfax reported. All three cities lie close to Ukraine’s border with Russia. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov vowed to restore order in eastern Ukraine without using violence, and also accused Ukraine’s ousted Pres Yanukovich, whose political base was in Donetsk, of conspiring with Putin to fuel tensions. Avakov said in a statement on his Facebook page:

Putin and Yanukovich ordered and paid for the latest wave of separatist disorder in the east of the country. The people who have gathered are not many but they are very aggressive. The situation will come back under control without bloodshed. That is the order to law enforcement officers, it’s true. But the truth is that no one will peacefully tolerate the lawlessness of provocateurs.

Around 1,500 people protested in Donetsk on Sunday before breaking into the regional administration building, where they hung a Russian flag from a second-floor balcony, a Reuters witness said. Protesters outside cheered and chanted “Russia! Russia!” In the Lugansk protest, Ukrainian television said three people had been injured. Police could not confirm the report. Talking to the crowd over a loudspeaker, protest leaders in Donetsk said they wanted regional lawmakers to convene an emergency meeting to discuss a vote on joining Russia like the one in Ukraine’s Crimea region that led to its annexation. One of the protest leaders said:

Deputies of the regional council should convene before midnight and take the decision to carry out a referendum.

A local Internet portal streamed footage from the seized building, showing people entering and exiting freely. Soviet-era music was being played over loudspeakers outside. The building houses the offices of Sergiy Taruta, a steel baron recently appointed by the interim government in Kiev as governor of a region with close economic and historical ties to Russia. Igor Dyomin, a spokesman for Donetsk local police, said:

Around 1,000 people took part, mostly young people with their faces covered. Around 100 people are now inside the building and are barricading the building.

In Luhansk, Reuters television showed images of hundreds of people outside the state security services building and a policeman in riot armor being carried away on a stretcher. Ukrainian television said the Lugansk protesters were demanding the release of people detained by security services in recent days as well as a referendum on joining Russia. An unnamed woman told Ukraine’s Channel Five in Lugansk:

We don’t want to join the EU, we don’t want to join NATO. We want our children to live in peace.

Ukraine’s state security services said on Saturday they had detained 15 people in Lugansk suspected of planning to overthrow the authorities and had confiscated hundreds of rifles, grenades and petrol bombs. Pro-Russian demonstrators have held rallies in recent weeks in several eastern Ukrainian cities, not far from a border where Moscow has assembled tens of thousands of troops.

Here’s the full-blown imperialist version, except that I have omitted a lengthy section about the shooting dead of a Ukrainian major by a Russian sergeant after a late night altercation. Apparently, the Ukrainian major was with a group all of whom, like himself, had been drinking. By the way, I have decided to retain the best-known spellings of the three cities Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kharkov – RB

Pro-Russia activists proclaim independent republic in Donetsk
Agencies, Graun, Apr 7 2014

Pro-Russian activists occupying a government building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have proclaimed the creation of a sovereign “people’s republic” independent of the capital, Kiev. The announcement, which was posted on YouTube, was delivered by a protest spokesperson outside a building currently occupied by several thousand Russia supporters, some of them armed. The spokesperson said to cheers from the gathered crowd:

Seeking to create a popular, legitimate, sovereign state, I proclaim the creation for the sovereign state of the People’s Republic of Donetsk!

Interfax reported that the self-proclaimed leaders of Donetsk have vowed to hold a regional sovereignty referendum no later than May 11. Ukrainian presidential elections have been set for May 25. The region’s news website, Ostrov (Island), said the activists wanted to join the Russian Federation in a similar way to the Crimean peninsula. Pro-Russian protesters remain in control of security service headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian region of Lugansk. Activists vacated an administration building in Kharkov on Monday after occupying it overnight. Ukraine’s prime minister accused Russia of sowing unrest in his country’s eastern provinces as a pretext for dispatching troops across the border. Speaking at an emergency cabinet meeting on Monday, Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russia was behind the seizure of several government buildings in eastern regions that had led to an increase in secessionist sentiment. He said:

The plan is to destabilise the situation, the plan is for foreign troops to cross the border and seize the country’s territory, which we will not allow.

He added that people engaged in the unrest had Russian accents. He also said Russian troops remained stationed within 30 km of the frontier. Earlier in the day, the interior ministry reported that armed gunmen had occupied a security services building in Lugansk, 25 km west of Russia and scene of frequent protests since the country’s pro-Moscow president was ousted in February. Police in Lugansk say they have been put on alert and have blocked all entrances to the city. A crowd of pro-Russian activists stormed the building on Sunday. Local media reported that demonstrators pelted the building with eggs, and then stones, a smoke grenade and finally a firebomb. The flames were reportedly quickly extinguished. Police said nine people were injured during the assault on the building.

And now, the super-hyper-imperialist version!:

Kiev says Russia provokes trouble in eastern Ukraine, just as in Crimea
Kathy Lally, WaPo, Apr 7 2014

KIEV — The Ukrainian government dispatched its highest-level police and security officials to the eastern part of the country Monday in an effort to put down separatist violence described as inspired by Russia and following a script that played out in Crimea. PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk told an emergency cabinet meeting Monday morning:

The plan is to destabilize the situation. The plan is for foreign troops to cross the border and seize the country’s territory, which we will not allow.

On Sunday, pro-Russian demonstrations in the eastern cities of Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk that had been orderly the last few weekends turned dangerous when crowds broke off and began to occupy government buildings in the three cities. In a meeting with reporters Monday, Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said the interior minister, the heads of the Security Service and the National Security Council and a deputy prime minister had gone to eastern Ukraine to bring the situation under control. He said:

The response will be tough, in contrast to what happened in Crimea.

There, Russia sent in well-disciplined troops, in uniforms without insignia, who began to take over the peninsula by occupying the regional parliament building in Simferopol early on Feb 27, the day the unprepared new government was taking office in Kiev following the ouster of Yanukovych. Yatsenyuk said:

I want to address the citizens of eastern Ukraine. It’s obvious that the anti-Donetsk, anti-Kharkov scenario is playing now. And all the troops still mass on Ukraine’s border, but we won’t let foreign troops enter Ukraine.

Thousands of Russian troops have been camped along the eastern Ukrainian border for days, and officials in Kiev fear that Moscow has been promoting separatist sentiment and demonstrations so it could move across the frontier on the pretext of restoring order and protecting a largely Russian-speaking population. Russian officials deny they have any intention of invading Ukraine and say their troops are on routine maneuvers. In Moscow, the head of the defense and security committee of the upper house of parliament said Russia could not send peacekeepers into Donetsk without approval from the UNSC, which is highly unlikely. Viktor Ozerov told Interfax that a country cannot simply send in peacekeeping troops at the request of local authorities. He said the Russian legislature authorized the use of troops in Crimea out of a perceived need to enhance security at Russian military bases there and under the terms of the agreement Russia signed with Ukraine to keep those bases. Ukrainian officials sharply dispute that point. Ozerov said Russian peacekeepers have been stationed in two regions that broke away from Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, under the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States. He stressed:

Russia has no right to do this unilaterally.

The Kiev government did not manage to organize any resistance to the Crimean takeover, which was backed by a Russian propaganda campaign that described Russian-speakers in the region as under threat from fascists who were on their way from Kiev to wreak havoc. In a quickly arranged referendum on Mar 16, Crimeans voted to join Russia, which promptly annexed the region. Deshchytsia said of the instigators of the violence in eastern Ukraine:

We call them political tourists. The ringleaders cross the Russian border with eastern Ukraine and inspire separatist actions. Most of these provocations were most likely done by political tourists. The number is lower than a few weeks ago, but they are more active now.

In Donetsk, a group of people who broke into the regional administration building spent the night there and on Monday announced that they were setting up a Donetsk People’s Republic. They and others who occupied buildings in Kharkov were demanding a Crimean-style referendum. The situation in Kharkov appeared particularly dangerous after pro-Ukrainians from Kiev reportedly headed to the city early Monday. Fights were breaking out on Kharkov’s main square Monday, local reporters said. In Lugansk, police said some demonstrators entered the security services headquarters and seized guns. Police responded by setting up roadblocks around the city.

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