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Kharkiv protesters declare independence from Kiev

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People in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv have declared independence from Kiev following a same move by pro-Russians in Donetsk.

Protesters announced on Monday the formation of the Independent People’s Republic of Kharkiv outside the regional administration building.

They also held their own election of what they call national lawmakers.

Moreover, the demonstrators clashed with pro-Ukraine groups in front of the building.

Police tried to separate the two groups as they threw sticks and stones at each other.

Some 50 percent of the region’s inhabitants are ethnic Russians that believe Ukraine’s acting authorities will repress Russians.

Earlier in the day, people in the eastern city of Donetsk declared their independence and formation of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

They demanded a referendum to be held by May 11 so they can join Russia. The head of General Administration of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Donetsk region, Roman Mykolayovych Romanov, who is in charge of 16,000 security forces, also defected to the new pro-Russian authorities.

Former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, who was in the city, expressed disagreement with a referendum in eastern parts of the country.

Elsewhere in the southern Ukrainian city of Nikolayev, people raised the Russian flag atop the regional administration building. Rival rallies are also being held in the southern city of Odessa.

The demonstrations gained momentum after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17 and formally applied to become part of Russia. This came on the heels of a referendum a day earlier, in which 96.8 percent of Crimeans voted for reunion with Russia.


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