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Pro-Russians declare independence in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk

By Agencies in Donetsk, Ukraine (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-08 07:12

Pro-Russians declare independence in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk

Pro-Russian protesters clash with riot police as the protesters storm the regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Sunday. About 50 protesters chanting "Donetsk is a Russian city!" broke through police lines on Sunday. The activists moved away from a crowd of about 2,000 rallying on the main city square. [Photo/Agencies]

Pro-Russian activists who seized the main administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk proclaimed the creation of a sovereign "people's republic" independent from Kiev on Monday.

The decision was announced to reporters by a spokesman for the protesters who came out of the occupied building.

Footage posted online showed one Russian speaker telling the packed assembly from a podium, "Seeking to create a popular, legitimate, sovereign state, I proclaim the creation of the sovereign state of the People's Republic of Donetsk."

The announcement was met by a huge roar from about 100 men packed inside an auditorium of what appeared to be the Donetsk administration building.

The Ostrov news website in Donetsk reported that the activists later resolved to join the Russian Federation in a move similar to the one taken by Ukraine's Crimea peninsula last month.

The news site said the resolution was met with cheers and calls for assistance from Russian President Vladimir Putin, with many chanting, "Putin, help!"

The Interfax news agency reported that the self-proclaimed leaders of Donetsk vowed to hold a regional sovereignty referendum no later than May 11.

'Separatist disorder'

Pro-Russian protesters seized state buildings in three east Ukrainian cities on Sunday, triggering accusations from the government in Kiev that Putin was orchestrating "separatist disorder".

The protesters stormed regional government buildings in the industrial hub of Donetsk and security service offices in nearby Luhansk, waving Russian flags and demanding a Crimea-style referendum on joining Russia.

Protesters also later seized the regional administrative building in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. All three cities lie close to Ukraine's border with Russia.

On Monday, the Donetsk administration building remained surrounded by about 2,000 Russian supporters, some of them armed. Pro-Russian protesters also remained in control of the headquarters of the security service of the eastern region of Lugansk.

However, activists left the administration building in Kharkiv on Monday after occupying it overnight.

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