Pro-Russians storm Ukraine government buildings

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Pro-Russians Storm Ukraine
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Pro-Russians storm Ukraine government buildings
Police officers stand guard on April 5, 2014 at the regional office of the Ukrainian Security Service in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk during a rally of Pro-Russia supporters demanding the release of their detained leaders, pro-Moscow activist Arsen Klinchev and pro-Russian local parliament member Alexander Kharitonov. Europe issued fresh calls on April 5 for dialogue with Russia over Ukraine, warning Moscow it faces having a failed state in its backyard just as it tightens the economic noose on Kiev. AFP PHOTO/ IGOR GOLOVNIOV (Photo credit should read IGOR GOLOVNIOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A demonstrator holds a flag with the portrait of deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych during a rally of pro-Russia supporters outside the regional government administration building in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk during on April 5, 2014. Europe issued fresh calls on April 5 for dialogue with Russia over Ukraine, warning Moscow it faces having a failed state in its backyard just as it tightens the economic noose on Kiev. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators wave Russian flags during a rally of pro-Russia supporters outside the regional government administration building in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk during on April 5, 2014. Europe issued fresh calls on April 5 for dialogue with Russia over Ukraine, warning Moscow it faces having a failed state in its backyard just as it tightens the economic noose on Kiev. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
A young demonstrator with his mouth covered by a Russian flag attends a rally of pro-Russia supporters outside the regional government administration building in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk during on April 5, 2014. Europe issued fresh calls on April 5 for dialogue with Russia over Ukraine, warning Moscow it faces having a failed state in its backyard just as it tightens the economic noose on Kiev. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russian activists clash with police at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 6, 2014. In Donetsk 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.” (AP Photo/Andrey Basevich)
Pro-Russian masked activist waves a Russian national flag above Ukrainian police at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 6, 2014. In Donetsk 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.” (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)
Pro-Russian activists stand on the balcony of the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 6, 2014. 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. (AP Photo/Igor Golovniov)
People shout slogans during a rally in the Independence Square in Kiev, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Thousands have gathered every Sunday on Independence Square, which served as the focus of protests that led to the toppling of President Viktor Yanukovych in February, to demand that the interim government live up to its promises. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Pro-Russian activists clash with police at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 6, 2014. In Donetsk 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.” (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)
People clash with police at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 6, 2014. In Donetsk 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.” (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)
An activist holds a Ukrainian flag during a rally in the Independence Square in Kiev, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Thousands have gathered every Sunday on Independence Square, which served as the focus of protests that led to the toppling of President Viktor Yanukovych in February, to demand that the interim government live up to its promises. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
People shout slogans during a rally in the Independence Square in Kiev, Sunday, April 6, 2014. Thousands have gathered every Sunday on Independence Square, which served as the focus of protests that led to the toppling of President Viktor Yanukovych in February, to demand that the interim government live up to its promises. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
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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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