Ukraine’s pro-Russia protesters demand greater autonomy

Rallies in eastern, southern regions since Crimea referendum

Updated - November 16, 2021 07:27 pm IST

Published - April 06, 2014 08:26 pm IST - MOSCOW

Thousands of pro-Russia demonstrators rallied in eastern Ukraine on Sunday in support of their demand for greater autonomy from Kiev. About 2,000 protesters marched in Donetsk, capital of Ukraine’s coal mining region, for a second day on Sunday.

The demonstrators, carrying Russian and “Russian Bloc” flags, demanded that the local legislature set a date for a referendum on upgrading the region’s status to a “Donetsk Republic” within Ukraine.

Gas price hike

The demonstrators also protested against planned steep hikes in gas and electricity prices. The prices are set to grow by about 50 per cent next month in line with the terms of a $14-billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Dozens of protesters stormed the regional government building and hung a Russian flag.

A similar rally took place in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city and a major industrial and academic centre. The demonstrators called for a referendum on federalisation of Ukraine and demanded the release of arrested pro-Russia activists.

A wave of protests swept Russian-speaking eastern and southern regions of Ukraine after Crimea voted in a referendum to split from Ukraine and reunite with Russia last month.

Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema said about 320 “separatist acts” had occurred in south-eastern regions and some 242,000 people had participated in them since the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych at the end of February.

The new government in Kiev has blamed “Kremlin agents” for stirring trouble in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lugansk and Odessa.

Russia has supported the demand for federalisation of Ukraine as the only way of preventing the country from splintering into pro-Russian and pro-Europe fragments.


Ukraine’s state security service said on Saturday it had detained 15 people suspected of planning to overthrow the authorities in Lugansk, a Russian-speaking eastern region, and had confiscated 300 automatic rifles, an anti-tank gun and large numbers of grenades, petrol bombs and knives.

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

Russia’s Federal Security Service, for its part, said earlier this week it had detained 25 Ukrainians suspected of preparing attacks in the southern and central part of the country.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.