Friday, August 29, 2014


Ukraine

Ukraine's Flashpoint Cities

Pro-Russia protesters storm the mayor's office in Mariupol on April 13.
Pro-Russia protesters storm the mayor's office in Mariupol on April 13.
By Claire Bigg
Tensions are running high in eastern Ukraine as a deadline set by Kyiv for pro-Russian gunmen to vacate government buildings passed early on April 14. Here's a look at the situation on the ground in flashpoint cities.

Slovyansk

A Russian flag is flying over police headquarters as masked men continue to man barricades of sandbags in front of it.

Pro-Russian forces are also occupying the offices of the State Security Service.

Here's fresh footage of the occupied building:
Armed Separatists Hold Grip On Government Building In Slovyansk As Kyiv Deadline Passesi
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April 14, 2014
Armed men stood guard outside occupied government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk on April 14 as a deadline passed for the pro-Russian protesters to disarm or face a major military operation. (Reuters)
Local media reports say armed men in camouflage entered the city administration building early on April 14.

Separatists are reporting to a man called Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, who says he has taken over leadership of the city after, he claims, the mayor fled.

A coordinator for the pro-Russia forces, who identified himself only as Mykola, told Interfax that his fighters were "on alert" and ready to "stand until the end."

Schools and colleges in this coal-mining town of 100,000 inhabitants have been closed until further notice. Parents have been advised to keep their children indoors.

On April 13, Ukrainian special forces exchanged gunfire with pro-Russia forces in the first reported gunbattle in the east.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that one Ukrainian state security officer was killed and five were wounded on the government side in the clashes. He said there were "dead and wounded on both sides."

Luhansk

Several hundred people were gathered outside the district administration building early on April 14. The staff has been evacuated.

Protest leaders have given the district administration head an ultimatum to surrender.

Local journalists say there are Cossacks and masked men in camouflage among the protesters. Several local Communist Party lawmakers have also been spotted in the crowd.

Meanwhile, pro-Euromaidan demonstrators continue rallying for Ukrainian unity.

Horlivka

Pro-Russia activists have seized the local police building and raised the flag of the "Donetsk People's Republic." They are also in control of city hall.

Video streamed by a local website, 06242.com.ua, showed an unidentified man in military-style fatigues telling the crowd the town had a new police chief appointed by protest leaders.
Protesters Storm Police Headquarters In Ukraine's Horlivkai
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April 14, 2014
At least 100 separatists stormed the police headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka and hoisted a Russian flag above the building on April 14. Video streamed by a local website, 06242.com.ua, showed an unidentified man in military-style fatigues telling the crowd the town had a new police chief appointed by protest leaders. (Reuters)

This video feed showed a big crowd of people outside the building and occasional footage from inside on April 14. 

The deputy head of the local police has reportedly been captured, handcuffed, and taken to Donetsk.

Donetsk

Pro-Russia forces are showing no sign of retreating.

They are still occupying the regional administration building and have raised the flag of the "Donetsk People's Republic."

On April 12, hundreds of uniformed men seized the police headquarters and forced the police chief to resign.

Kharkiv

About 50 people were injured on April 13 after pro-Russian demonstrators clashed with pro-Ukrainian activists. Police say 10 people were hospitalized.

Zaporizhzhya

On April 13, an estimated 3,000 pro-Ukraine supporters took to the streets and faced off with several hundred pro-Russia supporters.

Pro-Ukraine demonstrators threw eggs, flour, and milk at their surrounded rivals for several hours.

Kramatorsk

Pro-Russia gunmen took control of the police headquarters on April 13.

Footage shows the attackers were a well-organized unit of over 20 men wearing matching military fatigues and firing automatic weapons.
Armed Separatists Assault, Capture Police Station In Kramatorsk, Ukrainei
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April 13, 2014
Separatists unleashed a fusillade of automatic weapons fire as they took control of the police headquarters in Kramatorsk, a city that lies between Donetsk, Kharkiv, and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, on April 13. (Reuters/Euromaidan PR)

Mariupol

City hall is in the hands of armed masked men. Pro-Russian forces have erected barricades and raised a Russian flag over the building. Mariupol is just 50 kilometers from the Russian border.

Makiyivka

Separatists in this highly industrialized town have seized the local administration building. Eyewitnesses said the takeover was peaceful.

Here's footage from outside and inside the occupied building:
Separatists Remain In Seized Government Building In Ukraine's Makiyivkai
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April 14, 2014
In the eastern Ukrainian town of Makiyivka, near Donetsk, pro-Russian separatists remain in a local administration building they took over on April 13. (Reuters)

Druzhkivka

Separatists are in control of the district administration building.

Yenakiyene

Three administrative buildings have been seized: the city council, the prosecutor's office, and the local police headquarters.

Khartsyzk

A map of all the seized buildings is available here:

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