Citizens of the Ukrainian city of Lugansk, 30 kilometres from the Russian border, are learning how to use Kalashnikovs in case the looming threat of civil war becomes reality.
Pro-Russian fervour is sweeping eastern Ukraine and has intensified following the deaths of 24 people in the southern port of Odessa on Friday, many of them pro-Russian militants who died in a building fire.
Pro-Russian militants seized control of Lugansk's security agency a month ago and the separatist leader in the city of half a million people has told local military commanders to swear allegiance to their self-styled "Lugansk Republic" or get out.
Ukraine's government accuses Russia of wanting to invade the country and break it up.
In Lugansk, many young men are ready and willing to take up arms.
One separatist told France 24, "I love my fatherland... I want to fight to defend it. To the very end. If I'm killed, well, that's fate."
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-05-05