April 28, 2014
Pro-federalization activists have taken over the city council and police department in Konstantinovka, a city in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 reported Monday.
The channel said activists outside the city council building were erecting barricades to prevent local officials from entering their offices. Public buses have altered their routes to bypass the seized buildings.
Activists have not yet announced their demands. They say the move comes ahead of a planned referendum on May 11 on the future of the region.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said the unknown attackers who have seized the police department are holding talks with senior police officials.
Konstantinovka is an industrial city in the Donetsk region and home to 76,000 people. Some 59 percent of its citizens are Ukrainians and 37 percent are Russians. Only 21 percent of the city’s citizens said the Ukrainian language was their native language, according to census data.
Protests for federalization have been sweeping across Ukraine’s eastern and southeastern regions since March. The protests later spread to several more cities in Donetsk Region and a number of small towns, where protesters seized government buildings.
In neighboring Luhansk, protesters on Monday declared an independent people’s republic and announced they plan to hold a referendum simultaneously with similar referendums in Kharkiv and Donetsk on May 11.
Federalization supporters in the country’s eastern cities have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government that took power as a result of a coup in February.
This article was posted: Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5:28 am