Tensions remain high in East Ukraine

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Tensions remain high in Ukraine as pro-Russia protesters continue to occupy a number of government buildings in the eastern parts of the European country, Press TV reports.

Some of the protesters are calling for independence from Ukraine while others want to join the Russian Federation.

In Donetsk, the people demonstrating outside the regional administration building reject claims that they have been paid by Russia to cause unrest in the region. They also express readiness to defend themselves if Kiev decides to storm the premise.

Some of the protesters want a referendum to decide if Donetsk can become an autonomous republic while others want the region to break away from Kiev and join Moscow. However, both groups are united in their opposition to the current Ukrainian government.

“I think the government in Kiev is illicit, so reactions will not be according to the law,” a Pro-Russia activist said.

Many protesters do not recognize the new government in Kiev and claim they will sabotage a presidential election on May 25 while others are in favor of the vote.

Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has alleged that Russia is attempting to repeat “the Crimean scenario” in the country’s eastern parts. He blamed Moscow for fomenting separatist actions in the region.

Pro-Russia rallies have been a common scene across eastern Ukrainian cities over the past weeks.

The protesters briefly occupied government buildings in several Ukrainian cities on Monday. In Kharkiv, they declared independence from Kiev following a similar move by pro-Russians in Donetsk earlier on the day.

Pro-Russia activists also announced the formation of the Independent People’s Republic in both cities.

The demonstrations gained momentum after the Crimean territory declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, in which nearly 97 percent of the participants voted for rejoining Russia, with a turnout of more than 83 percent.

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