Protesters raise Russian flag over eastern Ukrainian city

Posted at 11:22 AM, Apr 06, 2014
From Victoria Butenko

for CNN

(CNN) — Demonstrators stormed a provincial administration building in eastern Ukraine on Sunday and raised the Russian flag atop it, demanding the release of riot police accused of killing protesters in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in February.

Police were negotiating with the demonstrators, who have called for supporters to rally around the Regional Security Administration building in Donetsk, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the Russian border. Video of the negotiations was being streamed live online by local news outlets.

The protest is the latest challenge to Ukraine’s embattled new government, which took power after a revolt that toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February. There was no immediate response to the seizure from top officials in Kiev, where the jailed police are accused of killing protesters during the uprising against Yanukovych.

The separatists inside the building used a loudspeaker to call for formation of a “people’s city council” for Donetsk.

In mid-March, Ukraine’s new government warned pro-Russian forces in other regions might attempt to follow the model used to wrest the Crimea region from Ukraine.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said demonstrations by what he called “political tourists” with foreign passports were already under way; Andrii Parubii, the secretary of the Ukrainian parliament’s National Security and Defense Council, said protesters included “elite special units that are trying to arrive to Ukraine with weapons.”

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