Activists occupy government buildings in Donetsk and Kharkiv
April 7, 2014
In a move that will be regarded in the West as pretext for a Russian invasion and annexation, members of the regional legislature in Ukraine’s industrial center of Donetsk have proclaimed the city a People’s Republic. The legislature has called for a referendum on joining the Russian Federation and has asked Vladimir Putin to send a temporary peacekeeping contingent into eastern Ukraine.
Civilians have rallied at the Donetsk Regional city administration building and have hoisted the Russian flag. In addition, demonstrators have taken over the Ukrainian Security Service’s Donetsk department building. Activists described as a “people’s militia” are reportedly in the process of examining the building’s “archives, documents and physical infrastructure,” according to social media.
The Voice of Russia reports activists occupying the Kharkov regional administration are waiting for reinforcements from Donetsk and Lugansk. The activists took control of the building on Sunday. “We are tasked to get organized: be quiet, peaceful and calm and avoid marauding. Only the Ukrainian Eastern Bloc and the Civil Defense of the Region will stay inside, there will be no strangers here,” said activist Yehor Lohvynov, according to Russian state media.
“The latest developments in Donetsk and in Kharkiv are something which we are all very worried about in the German government,” a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a news conference on Monday, according to The New York Times. “We must urgently renew our appeal to all those in positions of responsibility to help stabilize the region and avoid such escalation.”
The Times reports leaders in Ukraine and the West believe the protests and occupations are a precursor to Russian military action in the region. Junta installed prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, favorited by the State Department to lead the country following a coup supported by the United States and the European Union in February, said Russia was carrying out a plan “to destabilize the situation, a plan to ensure that foreign troops could cross the border and capture the territory of the country… We will not allow this.”
“There is a script being written in the Russian Federation, for which there is only one purpose: the dismemberment and destruction of Ukraine and the transformation of Ukraine into the territory of slavery under the dictates of Russia,” Yatsenyuk told a junta meeting held in Kyiv.
Gunmen seize gov't building in eastern Ukraine http://t.co/GMSKKTzxKv
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) April 7, 2014
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, recently released from prison where she was serving time for embezzlement, said on Monday she would travel to eastern Ukraine. Tymoshenko had earlier announced she will run for president. Oleksandr Turchynov, the junta acting president, announced on Sunday he had canceled a visit to Lithuania and will concentrate on following the situation. Acting interior minister Arsen Avakov said from Kharkiv Monday Putin was responsible for the unrest in eastern Ukraine.
The coup leadership, however, has more immediate problems closer to home. Fascist Right Sector activists on Monday surrounded the Parliament building in Kyiv. They are demanding the junta adopt so-called lustration legislation denying former government officials active participation in the coup now ruling the country.
The Right Sector activity has prevented Supreme Court employees from entering the building and prevented a meeting of judges on Monday, according to Russia Today.