DONETSK, 7 April (RIA Novosti) - Donetsk region People’s Council established by local pro-federalization demonstrators on Monday declared its plans to create the republic of Donetsk and join Russia if people so vote during the referendum which is due to take place no later than May 11, RIA Novosti correspondent reported Monday.
"People's Republic of Donetsk is to be created within the administrative borders of Donetsk region. This decision shall enter into force immediately after the referendum," one of the leaders of Donetsk People's council said at a meeting in the building of regional administration Monday.
A group of protesters pushing for broader regional autonomy stormed government buildings in Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, according to local media reports.
Nearly 3,000 people reportedly took control of the national bank’s building in Lugansk. Demonstrators flooded the streets in the city, waving Russian flags and chanting “Russia! Russia!”
Calls for secession and federalization have been spreading across Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking eastern regions after Ukrainian ultranationalists, who make up the bulk of the erstwhile opposition, rose to political prominence following a change of the country’s leadership that resembled a coup in February.
Protesters in eastern Ukraine, who have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new authorities, have been gathering since March, demanding referendums on the status of their regions.