Police Station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine Captured by Pro-Russian Forces

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced on his Facebook page that a Kramatorsk police station in Donetsk Oblast was seized by gunmen. They opened fire and the police fired back.

Here is the translation:

Here are a few pictures from people at the scene:

It is the latest of many government buildings falling to pro-Russians in east Ukraine, especially Donetsk Oblast, on Saturday. The police station in Sloviansk and government buildings in Druzhkova were captured. One of the gunmen in Sloviansk said the men chose the police station since it is filled with weapons. Gunmen also set up checkpoints on roads leading into Sloviansk and Horlivka.

Avakov condemned the actions, but it is doubtful Kyiv will receive any help from Sloviansk officials. Nelia Shtepa, mayor of Sloviansk, visited the police station and told the gunmen she supported them. Kostyantyn Pozhydayev, Donetsk’s police chief, resigned.

"Protesters came to me. So as to prevent bloodshed, I decided to tender my resignation to the [interior] minister," he said.

Supporters outside of the police station shouted that Sloviansk is a Russian city and were hostile towards journalists.

They were hostile to journalists present, telling them to "Go back to Kyiv" and "You have no business here." They also began to fortify the perimeter of the police station with sandbags and tires, stealing a page from the EuroMaidan Revolution tactics that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22.

Investigative journalist Oleksiy Matsuka, an editor of Novosti Donbassa in Donetsk, reported that his car was set on fire by an arsonist overnight.

The gunmen at the Sloviansk police station also forced two journalists from Echo Moskvy radio station inside the building. The station is known as one of the last independent news outlets in Russia.


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