At least a dozen armed men have seized a police station in a small town in eastern Ukraine as tensions in the country’s Russia-speaking regions intensify.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said men in camouflage stormed a police station in Slovyansk early Saturday. The town is about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of the regional center, Donetsk, where pro-Russian protesters have occupied a government building for nearly a week.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov pledged a “very tough response” to the seizure.
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Video on a local website showed several armed men in balaclavas guarding the entrance to the police station.
Protesters who have held the administration building in Donetsk since Sunday initially called for a referendum on secession but later reduced the demand to a vote on autonomy within Ukraine.