Separatists storm local government HQ in Ukraine's Luhansk

by Reuters
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 12:54 GMT

(Adds comment from Interior Ministry aide)

KIEV, April 29 (Reuters) - Hundreds of pro-Russian separatists stormed the regional government headquarters in Ukraine's eastern city of Luhansk on Tuesday, unopposed by police, and the Ukrainian government said they also planned to seize the local television centre.

The government in Kiev has all but lost control of its police forces in parts of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian activists have seized buildings in the region's second biggest city of Donetsk and several smaller towns.

"The regional leadership does not control its police force," said Stanislav Rechynsky, an aide to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. "The local police did nothing."

He added that the ministry had information that they would next try to take the local television centre.

Video footage showed men, some dressed in green camouflage fatigues and holding shields, walking around what appeared to be the foyer of the building as hundreds massed outside the building's large wooden doors.

Pro-Russian separatists had previously occupied only the local security services' building in Luhansk, which they took in early April. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Writing by Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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