1000s of pro-Russians protest Kiev upheaval

2014-02-24 08:01
(Piero Quaranta, AFP)

(Piero Quaranta, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


Sevastopol - Waving placards calling for "Mother Russia" to save them, thousands of people rallied on Sunday in Ukraine's port city of Sevastopol to denounce the political upheaval in Kiev as fears grow that the country could splinter.

Home to Russia's Black Sea fleet for some 200 years, Sevastopol in Ukraine's autonomous Crimea region is a bastion of pro-Moscow sentiment in the deeply divided ex-Soviet state where mass protests have forced Kremlin-allied president Viktor Yanukovich to flee the capital.

Amid fears that it could become a flashpoint for pro-Russian separatists, the United States, Germany, France and Poland made appeals Sunday for Ukraine's national integrity to be preserved.

In a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both leaders opposed partition, German officials said.

But among some in Sevastopol anger seems to be rising.

"The fascists have taken power in Kiev!" shouted one speaker to the crowd of roughly 10 000 demonstrators as they waved Russian tricolours and navy banners.

Dangerous extremists

On Sunday the opposition-controlled parliament in Kiev appointed a new interim president a day after voting to oust Yanukovych after months of protests turned into a bloodbath this past week, with scores of people gunned down by police.

While protesters in Kiev have mainly come from the country's pro-Western Ukrainian-speaking population, in Yanukovych's Russian-speaking heartland in the east and in Crimea people have been frosty if not outright hostile to the changes.

"Bandits have taken power in Kiev. I am here to protect my town," said Stanislav Bolotnikovsky, aged 53.

Russia has condemned the events in Ukraine as a putsch and painted the protesters in Kiev - where nationalist and rightwing groups make up a hardcore - as dangerous extremists.

Those sentiments were echoed Sunday on the streets of Sevastopol.

"A coup d'etat has taken place in Kiev. I don't want my children to live in a country led by fascists," said small businesman Evgeny, aged 39.

'Reattach Crimea’

But the ire is not just directed against the demonstrators in the Ukrainian capital.

Instead much of the anger is targeted at Yanukovych and how he handled the crisis.

"Yanukovych is not my president anymore. He showed proof of weakness by sending unprotected policemen in against armed bandits," pro-Russia protester Bolotinsky said.

Another demonstrator, retiree Tatyana Segeyevna spoke about stability and the broader destiny of the country.

"Yesterday I hoped that there could be some sort of solution. Now though we have to reattach Crimea to Russia- that way we'll get stability back," she said.

Up until 1954 Crimea belonged to Russia but it was then given to the Ukrainian Soviet republic and has long been seen as a potential source of conflict.

The recent unrest in Kiev started when Yanukovych turned his back on signing a pact with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Moscow. The protests spiralled into a titanic tug-of-war over the country's future between Russia and the West.

Local officials in Crimea however have moved quickly to quash fears of a potential separatist uprising.

Crimea's prime minister Anatolii Mohyliov declared on Sunday that the region was ready to "follow" the decisions taken by parliament since Yanukovych's majority there collapsed over the weekend.

Read more on:    eu  |  vladimir putin  |  angela merkel  |  viktor yanukovych  |  ukraine  |  ukraine protests

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Wednesday Cape Town - 16:09 PM
    Road name: N2 Outbound
    DELAYS through Borcherds Quarry Road Interchange
  • Wednesday Brackenfell - 16:08 PM
    Road name: N1 Outbound
    STATIONARY VEHICLE in the centre lane before the Old Oak Road exit
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia E7

Your mobile office Real-time emails with Mail for Exchange. Easy access to...

From R3499.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.