DONETSK, Ukraine — Pro-Russian separatists who seized a provincial building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk proclaimed the region independent Monday, an ominous echo of events prior to Russia's annexation of Crimea. Ukrainian authorities called the move an attempt by Russia to sow unrest.
The Interfax news agency said the activists demanded that a referendum be held no later than May 11 on the possible secession of the Donetsk region, which borders Russia.
Pro-Russian crowds Sunday had stormed government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv, all cities in Ukraine's heavily Russian-speaking east. Authorities say all the storming parties appeared to have been armed. The government was struggling Monday to regain control of those buildings.
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