- Title: UKRAINE: Pro-Russian protest in Donetsk in the east of the country
- Date: 8th March 2014
- Summary: DONETSK, RUSSIA (MARCH 8, 2014) (REUTERS) CROWD GATHERED ON LENIN'S SQUARE CROWD AT PRO-RUSSIA PROTEST PEOPLE WITH BANNER, ONE READING (Russian): "RUSSIA=MOTHER, EU+NATO=UKRAINE'S DEATH' VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT PROTEST CROWD, RUSSIAN FLAG FLOATING COMMUNIST PARTY FLAG VARIOUS OF PROTEST (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN SAYING: "We are no aliens, we live on what is historically Russian land. And if needed, all of Donbass, all of the south and the east of Ukraine will rise and we will join Russia, I am saying this openly. And I ask Putin, our dear president, "Don't leave us, Putin, help us, don't let them tear us apart, these people who behave like Bandera." PROTEST (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PROTESTER, YELENA, SAYING: "We want a referendum. We want to have a federal republic, and everything earned here has to stay here, for us, so we could see it, so it doesn't go somewhere else." PEOPLE WALKING TO REGIONAL GOVERNMENT BUILDING CROWD OUTSIDE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT BUILDING CROWD CHANTING 'RUSSIA' RIOT POLICE CROWD CHANTING SLOGANS RIOT POLICE
- Embargoed: 23rd March 2014 12:00
- Location: Ukraine
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA6ZRDBBIQYR7UT0NWB8DKARSUN
- Story Text: About 2,000 pro-Russia protesters gathered on Donetsk's Lenin square on Saturday (March 8) at a rally organised by the local Communist Party and pro-Russian organisations.
The protesters waved Russian flags and chanted pro-Russian slogans.
One protester said the region was historically part of Russia.
"We are no aliens, we live on what is historically Russian land. And if needed, all of Donbass, all of the south and the east of Ukraine will rise and we will join Russia, I am saying this openly. And I ask Putin, our dear president, "Don't leave us, Putin, help us, don't let them tear us apart, these people who behave like Bandera," a woman said referring to Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian politician who fought for Ukraine's independence and help organise sabotage against the Soviet army during WWII.
Another protester said she wanted a referendum about independence to be organised in Donetsk, just like in Crimea.
Crimea's pro-Moscow leadership declared this week that the region was now part of Russia and has called a March 16 referendum to confirm it.
"We want a referendum. We want to have a federal republic, and everything earned here has to stay here, for us, so we could see it, so it doesn't go somewhere else," Yelena said.
The crisis in Ukraine has highlighted the historical divide between western Ukraine, which favoured closer ties with the European Union, and the east of the country, which has traditionally viewed Moscow as a source of stability.
Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine, a powerful electoral force, remained wary of the new leadership in Kiev.
On Thursday (March 6), Pavel Gubarev, the leader of the most persistent pro-Moscow protest movement in eastern Ukraine, was arrested in Donetsk.
Russian troops have occupied Crimea since Russian parliament approved a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to send troops there to 'protect Russian interests and citizens'.
The mood in the peninsula darkened on Saturday after overnight confrontations between Russian troops and besieged Ukrainian soldiers raised tensions on the ground in the biggest East-West face-off since the Cold War.
Moscow denies that the Russian-speaking troops in Crimea are under its command, an assertion Washington dismisses as "Putin's fiction". Although they wear no insignia, the troops drive vehicles with Russian military plates and identify themselves as Russian troops to the besieged Ukrainian forces.
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