[Ed. – Who’s up for another round of “protecting Russians through secession”? This is what the tens of thousands of Russian troops still on Ukraine’s border are about, BTW: intimidating Ukraine while “pro-Russian activists” subvert the nation from within. Putin will keep using this move as long as it keeps working.]
Activists chanting “Russia!” broke through police lines Sunday and stormed several government buildings in eastern Ukrainian regions seeking independence from Kiev following last month’s fall of a Kremlin regime.
Clashes in Donetsk and similar rallies in the heavily Russified cities such of Lugansk and Kharkiv provided another reminder to the untested pro-Western leaders in Kiev of the monumental task facing them after their February 22 overthrow of president Viktor Yanukovych.
The unrest comes with Ukraine’s borders surrounded by Russian troops who had earlier seized the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and the economy in tatters after decades of mismanagement and government theft.
Several eastern regions now want to stage referendums on joining Kremlin rule when Ukraine holds snap presidential polls on May 25. Both election frontrunners want to tie the vast country’s future to Europe and break its historic dependence on Russia.
The day’s most violent protest saw nearly 100 activists move away from a crowd of 2,000 rallying on the main city square of Donetsk to storm and occupy the government seat where they raised the Russian flag.
They threw firecrackers at about 200 riot police and ripped away several of their shields before raising the Russian flag above the 11-story building.
Some in the bustling city of one million chanted “Give us a referendum” and “NATO go home”.