Armed, pro-Russian separatists lay siege to Donetsk Oblast

Kyiv Post — April 13, 2014

Pro-Russia activists assist an Orthodox priest walk through a barricade outside the regional police building seized by armed separatists in Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. Kiev said on April 13 that several had been left "dead and wounded" in fighting to oust pro-Russian gunmen holed up in a police station in the restive eastern city of Slavyansk, as Washington warned Moscow to de-escalate the crisis or face the consequences. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV

DONETSK, Ukraine — Amid reports of casualties on both sides as Ukrainian forces battle pro-Russian militias in Sloviansk, other armed separatists continued to seize or attempt to seize other government buildings or strategic locations in Donetsk Oblast, home to ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and 10 percent of Ukraine’s population.

Here’s what we know now in each city as of 2:30 p.m. Kyiv time on April 13:


Pro-Russian separatists control the oblast government center and the oblast Interior Ministry. There was  little visible presence of Ukrainian police or military in Donetsk and repeated attempts to reach people working for Donetsk Oblast governor Serhiy Taruta today were unsuccessful.


In Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast’s second largest city, Novosti Donbassa reported that several hundred separatists seized the building of the city council, citing eyewitnesses. The seizure occurred during a rally of demonstrators who favor secession from Ukraine and formation of the independent Republic of Donetsk.


Armed pro-Russian separatists still held the police headquarters and local Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) headquarters in Sloviansk. Separatists inside were talking with journalists, and one claimed to the Kyiv Post that numerous casualties took place in a battle between Ukrainian police and pro-Russian separatists outside the city, possibly at one of the roadside checkpoints. But that information could not be confirmed. Interior Ministry Arsen Avakov said that one Ukrainian state security officer was killed and five others were wounded on the side of government forces in an “anti-terrorist” in Sloviansk, but the separatists told the Kyiv Post that the confrontation did not take place in the city or at the police station. Ukrainian military helicopters were flying over the area. The separatists are protected by some 1,000 pro-Russian demonstrators and roadside checkpoints.


Pro-Russian separatists were holding rallies, but thus far only the local , according to the Kyiv Post journalist on the scene. The mayor of Yenakievo came to the city council building and wavered on which side that he is on when questioned by the Kyiv Post. The Donetsk Republic separatist flag is flying over the administration headquarters.


After a shootout, pro-Russian armed separatists seized the police station and reportedly also have control of the local city administration building and the local airport.

Editor’s Note: This article has been produced with support from the project, financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and implemented by a joint venture between NIRAS and BBC Media Action.The content in this article may not necessarily reflect the views of the Danish government, NIRAS and BBC Action Media.