Pro-Russia protesters storm regional gov't building in east Ukraine

DONETSK, Ukraine, April 6 Sun Apr 6, 2014 10:09am EDT

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DONETSK, Ukraine, April 6 (Reuters) - Dozens of pro-Russia protesters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk stormed the regional government building on Sunday and hung a Russian flag.

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.

The east has remained a touchpoint for tensions between Ukraine and Russia, after Yanukovich fled from power and Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean territory.

Tensions have spilled over into the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold war.

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. (Reporting by Lina Lushch; Writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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