Pro-Russia protesters took over the first floor of a government building in Donetsk in east Ukraine. The building is one of many in east Ukraine that have a Russian flag on top.
A Reuters reporter in a press center on the fourth floor of the building said the protesters had seized the first floor but were unable to go higher because lifts were disabled and stairwell doors shut.
Donetsk is deposed president Viktor Yanukovich’s hometown. The residents are ethnic Ukrainians, but use Russian as their native language. The leader, Pavel Gubarev, wants the city government to declare the new government in Kiev as illegitimate and join forces with Russia. Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said numerous times the country views Ukraine’s government as illegitimate.
People in Kiev gathered in Independence Square over the weekend to show the new Ukraine government they are willing to fight. Russia has complete control of the Crimea peninsula, an autonomous republic of Ukraine, but the people were more concerned about the pro-Russia sentiments expressed in the east. A video was released of Ukrainians forced to march through a pro-Russia crowd while they were beaten with sticks. Protests were held in Odessa, Kharkov, Dnipro and Donetsk.