Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Iraq: Kurdish forces fight to protect Yazidis

Read more

DEBATE

Libya unrest: National Assembly asks for UN help to dissolve militias

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#IceBucketChallenge and hashtag activism

Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • Ex-PM Juppé announces bid for 2017 French presidential race

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Deadly airstrikes hit Gaza as ceasefire with Israel collapses

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    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)