Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Oil prices 'could fall further' without OPEC output cut

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

How not to argue over Thanksgiving dinner

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Just how green is François Hollande?

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: African Americans call for boycott of 'Black Friday'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Sierra Leone: UN won't meet December 1st target for containing Ebola virus

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy criticised for comments about former justice minister's origins

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Mexico kidnappings: Mother speaks out over missing daughter

Read more

DEBATE

The Pope's wake-up call: How to kickstart 'haggard' Europe (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Pope's wake-up call: How to kickstart 'haggard' Europe

Read more

Europe

Police ‘helpless’ as separatists tighten grip on eastern Ukraine

© AFP

Video by Thomas WATERHOUSE

Text by FRANCE 24 , Ukraine

Latest update : 2014-04-30

Pro-Russian separatists seized control of state buildings in the town of Horlivka Wednesday, tightening their grip on swathes of Ukraine’s industrial east with police “helpless” to quell the unrest, according to the country’s interim president.

Insurgents wielding automatic weapons took control of the city council Wednesday morning, adding to the police building which they have controlled for several weeks.

An Associated Press reporter saw a small group of men standing guard outside the building and checking the documents of those entering. One of the men said foreign reporters would not be allowed in and threatened to arrest anyone who did not obey orders.

The town of almost 300,000 people sits just north of Donetsk, where mainly Russian-speaking separatists have declared a 'People's Republic' and plan a secession referendum on May 11.

The operation in Horlivka follows the fall to separatists of provincial capital Luhansk, further east towards the Russian border. Ukrainian police said on Tuesday night that they had abandoned their regional headquarters in Luhansk to a crowd of pro-Moscow protesters.

“I will be frank: Today, security forces are unable to quickly take the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions under control,” Oleksandr Turchinov, the country’s interim president said at a meeting in Kiev Wednesday.

“The security bodies ... are unable to carry out their duties of protecting citizens. They are helpless in those matters. Moreover, some of those units are either helping or cooperating with terrorist organisations,” he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

The goal now was to prevent the separatist movement spreading to other parts of the country, Turchinov said.

Towns and cities across Ukraine's Donbass coalfield - where giant steel smelters and heavy plants produce around a third of the country's industrial output - have slipped from the control of the pro-Western central government since April 6.

The armed uprising followed the overthrow of Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich and Russia's annexation of Crimea, in a tug-of-war between the West and Russia over the ex-Soviet republic of some 45 million people, a vital transit route for Russian gas to Europe.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP, AFP)

Date created : 2014-04-30

  • UKRAINE

    EU, US sanctions against Russia target Putin cronies

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    In pictures: Pro-Russian rebels attack Ukraine ‘unity’ rally in Donetsk

    Read more

  • UKRAINE

    Ukraine mayor ‘fights for his life’ after being shot in the back

    Read more

COMMENT(S)