Pro-Russian Gunmen Seize Police Station In Eastern Ukraine

According to Ukraine's interior ministry, pro-Russian armed men have seized a police headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk.

Pro-Russian Gunmen Seize Police Station In Eastern Ukraine
Kyiv Post / Anastasia Vlasova

Another group of pro-Russian activists in another Ukrainian city are holed up in a local government building. 

According to Ukraine’s interior ministry, at least a dozen armed men in camouflage occupied a police station in eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk Saturday. They apparently haven't yet give any demands. (Via Al Jazeera

​Meanwhile pro-Russian demonstrators across several cities in Ukraine's Russian speaking east are demanding independence and refuse to recognize Ukraine's new government. (Via Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Activists in Donetsk have occupied local government buildings for nearly a week and say they’re not leaving. (Via Euronews) 

Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visited Donetsk Friday in an effort to break the stalemate. He says he supports changing Ukraine’s constitution to allow for local referendums.  (Via Jewish News One

But it's unclear if that’s going to quell the protests — which the Ukraine's government Kiev claims are being orchestrated by Moscow. 

The separatist movement bears a striking resemblance to the events that led up to Crimea's annexation about month ago. And that has the West fearing cities like Donetsk may also try to breakaway. (Via Voice of America

Adding to their fears — NATO estimates there are some 40,000 Russian troops amassed along Ukraine’s eastern boarder that could be ready to move in just 12 hours. (Via ABC) ​

Russia insists they’re just there for military exercises, and it has no plans to invade, but Western observers are skeptical. (Via The Voice of Russia)

Contrast that with how Russian media are describing the troop build-up. An UK-based analyst for Russia’s state-funded network RT blames the Western media for exaggerating Russia's military activity. 

“There’s been a wave of Russophobia in the media, on the television here. It’s the wicked bear. They’re going to take over eastern Europe. Russia might be invading Finland next week.”

In response to the tensions, the U.S. Treasury Department launched another round of sanctions on a Crimean gas company and several leaders Friday.