UKRAINE: Pro Russians storm offices

Armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, stand guard, with Ukrainian servicemen seen in the foreground, at a military airbase, in the Crimean town of Belbek near SevastopolAccording to the BBC; Pro-Russian protesters have stormed government buildings in three eastern Ukrainian cities.

In Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv they clashed with police, hung Russian flags from the buildings and called for a referendum on independence.

Ukraine’s acting president called an emergency security meeting in response.

The unrest comes amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine over the removal of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow has the right to protect the Russian-speaking population there.

Ukraine’s leaders deny the country’s Russian speakers are under threat and have said they will resist any intervention in their country.

Ukrainian Acting President Olexander Turchynov cancelled a planned visit to Lithuania and called a meeting of the country’s security chiefs to deal with the unrest.

In Donetsk, in what was reportedly the day’s most violent protest, a large group of activists broke away from a crowd rallying in the main city square to attack and occupy the regional government seat.

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