Ukraine Arrests Fifteen Pro-Russians in Luhansk Planning to Overthrow Local Government

Ukraine Arrests Fifteen Pro-Russians in Luhansk Planning to Overthrow Local Government

Fifteen people were detained in Luhansk, Ukraine on suspicions of overthrowing the authorities in favor of Russian rule. This region is the closest to Russia and is home to many ethnic Russians.

Ukraine’s state security service said these people wanted to disrupt life in Luhansk. According to Reuters, officials “confiscated hundreds of rifles, grenades and petrol bombs.”

“The group of attackers planned to carry out an armed seizure of power on April 10 in the Luhansk region through the intimidation of the peaceful population and the use of weapons and explosives,” the service, which has intelligence and policing functions, said in a statement.

East Ukraine has been tense since pro-West Ukrainians ousted Russia-backed president Viktor Yanukovych on February 22. The older residents in Luhansk became more disgruntled after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and voiced their wish for their own referendum. Some of these people spoke to The Kyiv Post and spoke of memories under the Soviet Union. After Ukraine left Russia in 1991, these people said their once flourishing region lost money and prosperity.

“I’m against war, but if the fascists from the Right Sector come here, I will take a gun and I will fight them,” says Oleksandr Syvolapov, 54, standing at the rally.

“Nationalism is the worst. I would sooner join Russia than fascistic Kyiv,” he said.

When asked if he was comfortable living with Ukrainian as the only state language, Syvolapov said: “I’m against it. I don’t speak the pigs’ language.”

It is not only the Luhansk region. There have been numerous protests in the city of Donetsk. On March 13, pro-Ukrainians started a rally at Lenin Square and it was peaceful until pro-Russians attacked them. Two people died and 11 were sent to the hospital. Pro-Russia rallies occurred on more weekends and pro-Ukrainians are now scared to protest in fear of their lives.