Pro-Russian militants in Donetsk say they will not leave the government building there, defying the Kiev authorities and threatening a new international deal on Ukraine.
The separatists’ spokesman said that the Kiev government was “illegal”, so they would not go until the Kiev government stepped down.
Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US earlier agreed that illegal military groups in Ukraine must leave official buildings.
They reached the deal in Geneva.
Alexander Gnezdilov, spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said his group would evacuate the government building in the eastern city only when the “illegal” Kiev government vacated parliament and the presidential administration.
A tense standoff continues in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists – many of them armed – are occupying official buildings in at least nine cities and towns.
Another protest leader in Donetsk said the separatists would not leave unless pro-European demonstrators in Kiev’s Maidan Square packed up their camp first.
President Barack Obama cautiously welcomed the Geneva deal, but warned that the US and its allies were ready to impose new sanctions on Russia if the situation failed to improve.
On Friday there were reports of some shooting in Serhiyivka, in Donetsk region.
Ukrainian paratroopers opened fire to remove a protesters’ roadblock in Serhiyivka, Interfax-Ukraine reported, quoting local sources. The details have not been confirmed.
Russia denies fomenting separatism in eastern and southern Ukraine.
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