Pro-Russia Protesters Seize Government Building In East Ukraine, Demand Autonomy

While the general sentiment may be that Russia has put its territorial expansion plans vis-a-vis Ukraine on hold, if only for the time being, pro-Russian protesters in East Ukraine, whether premeditated or spontaneous, seem to have not gotten the memo. Earlier today, in a repeat of events that took place just as the pre-Crimea annexation plotline hit a fever pitch, dozens of pro-Russia protesters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk stormed the regional government building on Sunday and hung a Russian flag, demanding once again for autonomy from Ukraine.

Reuters reports:

The hometown of pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovich, Donetsk has seen tensions rise, as they have across mainly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, since his ouster and the installation of a pro-European government in Kiev.

 

Pro-Russia protesters, who had been protesting on Sunday stormed the administrative building in Donetsk, hung a Russian flag over a second-floor balcony. Around 1,500 protesters who had surrounded the building cheered, chanting "Russia!".

 

A Reuters reporter said around 500 police stood by without interfering.

 

In the nearby city of Lugansk, protesters also stormed the offices of the state security services. No injuries were reported at either location.

 

Pro-Russian demonstrators have held rallies in eastern Ukrainian cities in recent weeks, not far from the border with Russia where Moscow has gathered troops and boosted their numbers to tens of thousands.

That this is happening days after Gazprom announced it would hike Ukraine gas prices by 80%, effectively launching the nation into energetic, pardon the pun, and hyperinflationary turmoil, is hardly a coincidence: after all what better way to capitalize on what is certain to be a broad popular revulsion against the new "hope and change" government (which is the same as the government from years ago) which is squeezing the last hryvnia from the embattled population, than to remind the furious population that Uncle Vlad can make it all better, if only the various regions hold a referendum to secede from Ukraine and re-enter the second coming of the USSR.

After all, it worked without a hitch in Crimea.

And this is how it may work in the first major city in Eastern Donetsk that appears set to shift to a Russian allegiance.