Pro-Russian Protestors Storm Government Buildings in Eastern Ukraine

The BBC reports that pro-Russian protestors have stormed government offices in three cities in Eastern Ukraine: Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. The forces clashed with police, seized several offices, and hung Russian flags from the buildings, calling for a referendum vote for independence.

The most violent protest is reported to have taken place in Donetsk, where a group of pro-Russian activists broke away from a crowd of government protesters, clashing with riot police as they stormed a regional government office. When they had successfully seized the building, they hung Russian flags from it while the crowd chanted and cheered.

A spokesman for the Donetsk local police stated that 1,000 people had participated in the riot and that about 100 now occupied the building, BBC reports.

In response to the pro-Russian actions, Ukraine President Turhynov canceled a trip to Lithuania and convened an emergency security meeting with Ukraine’s security chiefs.