DONETSK, Ukraine, (Reuters) – Pro-Russian protesters stormed the prosecutor’s office in the separatist-held city of Donetsk yesterday, hurling rocks, firecrackers and teargas at riot police defending officials the rebels accused of working for Kiev’s Western-backed leaders.
To shouts of “Fascists”, a refrain Moscow uses to describe Ukraine’s new government, hundreds of people pelted the police with paving stones and then cornered some, dragging them to the ground and beating them. The police soon surrendered.
Donetsk, a city of about 1 million people in Ukraine’s industrial east, is at the centre of an armed uprising across the steel and coal belt by mainly Russian-speakers threatening to secede from Ukraine.
The violence, in a city already largely under the control of separatists, underscored the shifting security situation across swathes of eastern Ukraine where suspicion of Kiev runs deep.