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Pro-Russians storm Ukraine government buildings

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Crowds of pro-Russian demonstrators stormed government buildings Sunday in two major cities in eastern Ukraine, where secessionist sentiment has sparked frequent protests since Ukraine's Russia-friendly president was ousted in February.

In Luhansk, 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the Russian border, hundreds of people surrounded the local headquarters of the security service and later scaled the facade to plant a Russian flag on the roof.

In Donetsk, to the southwest, a large group of people surged into the provincial government building and smashed windows. A gathering of several hundred, many of them waving Russian flags, then listened to speeches delivered from a balcony emblazoned with a banner reading "Donetsk Republic."

Eastern Ukraine was the heartland of support for Viktor Yanukovych, the president who fled to Russia in February after months of protests. About half of the region's residents are ethnic Russians, many of whom believe Ukraine's acting authorities are Ukrainian nationalists who will oppress Russians.

Ukraine's interim authorities deny they are infringing the rights of the ethnic Russian population and accuse Moscow of trying to sow instability. Russia has moved large contingents of troops to areas near the Ukrainian border, and speculation is strong that unrest in eastern Ukraine could be used as a pretext for a Russian incursion.

Since Crimea held a referendum to secede and then was annexed by Russia in March, calls for similar referenda in Ukraine's east have emerged.

On Saturday, Ukraine's security service said it had detained a 15-strong armed gang planning to seize power in Luhansk province.

The Security Service of Ukraine said it seized 300 machine guns, an antitank grenade launcher, a large number of grenades, five handguns and firebombs.

It said the group intended to mount a grab for power. No names or additional details were provided.

Also Sunday, authorities in Ukraine said they found the body of a kidnapped journalist who played an active role in protests that led to Yanukovych's ouster. The body was found in a forest about 150 kilometers (60 miles) outside the capital, Kiev.

Cherkassk province prosecutors said Vasily Sergiyenko was abducted in his home city of Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi on Friday evening and later murdered. The nationalist Svoboda party, of which Sergiyenko was a member, said the reporter was found with stab wounds and signs of beatings to his head and knees.

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supermax52 April 07 2014 at 8:00 AM

Until this illegal government, backed by the US and it's corporate cronies, are removed, there will be no peace. The US is once again interfering with another country in hopes of making their corporate
allies lots of money. It's always about money with the US. Once again I am ashamed of my country. George Washington is rolling in his grave as to what we have become.

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alpha1144 April 06 2014 at 3:32 PM

At the 2008 NATO summit, Vladimir Putin told a surprised George W. Bush, "You have to understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a country"

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1 reply
cact25 alpha1144 April 06 2014 at 8:07 PM

Not that hard to surprise Dubya.

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meanstr April 06 2014 at 3:31 PM

An Illegal Government who took over the Capital,The Elected President in in Russia and the Illegal Government is using heavy armed trugs as police to hold on to the power in a effort to get hold of the Billions of Dollars the United States poured into the country.

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1 reply
peggindale meanstr April 06 2014 at 3:41 PM

Gosh, sounds like Bush in Baghdad, with Blackwater. I think Russia did the lending of money to the Ukraine. There is no money in the Ukraine.

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justpassnby April 06 2014 at 3:11 PM

Russia really has been getting it as kick in wars for a long time.. from Napoleon to hitler..who would have kicked thier ass if he didnt fight a muti front war with the allies and them.

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1 reply
mscttf justpassnby April 06 2014 at 3:32 PM

You are correct the many fronts that Germany was fighting at the time they attacked Russia and the Russian winter played a major part in Russian success. If Germany had not attacked Russia, the outcome may have been a lot different and all of Europe would be speaking German.

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justpassnby April 06 2014 at 3:07 PM

if 15 armed men can over throw your government ..you got big problems!

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psyn70 April 06 2014 at 3:05 PM

As this slow moving take-over by Putin unfolds I hear the evil theme of Maleficent from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty.

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Njeanous April 06 2014 at 3:01 PM

Looks like Putin’s Incognito Gang is not going to just walk in and take over the Ukraine like they did Crimea.

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michel_ney April 06 2014 at 2:50 PM

As few realize, Napoleon I, did take Russia, for all practical purposes. He dined in the Kremlin, the first time and last as foreign power. I say, let the Poles have a run at them. Throughout history, they have suffered the worst. Poniatowski and his "Blues" are all that is needed.

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Brian Hope April 06 2014 at 2:37 PM

The U.S. should be calling for similar referendums in the Asiatic provinces within Russia itself, where ethnic Russians are in a clear minority. I don't think Czar Ivan the 5th would be too keen on that!

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2 replies
BOGDAN Brian Hope April 06 2014 at 2:59 PM

I agree half of Russia should be given to mongols , tatars , kazkahs etc.

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Jim Brian Hope April 06 2014 at 3:11 PM

Sorry. But the countries that you mention are happy to be part of the Russian Federation. They live in a tough neighborhood. They are happy to have Russian protection. In case you missed it, the Berlin Wall is no more. There are Russian citizens living happily in Seatle and in Napa Valley and in Hollywood and all over the United States. They come and go as they please.

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1 reply
BOGDAN Jim April 06 2014 at 4:02 PM

They happy! How do you know how happy are they ? Do they have a choice at this time ? No! but one day they will and China will be there too . I'm sure China will need more land in the future.

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kvave April 06 2014 at 2:21 PM

Simply put . All you Russians go to Russia . All the Ukranians deserve their OWN Country.

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3 replies
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