Pro-Moscow 'governor' arrested in Ukraine

6th March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Ukrainian police on Thursday arrested scores of pro-Moscow militants including a self-declared "people's governor" in the eastern city of Donetsk after re-taking regional government headquarters.

Officers from Ukraine's security services notified Pavel Gubarev of the arrest order against him at his home in Donetsk.

He was detained and taken out in handcuffs, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Gubarev, who had called for a secession referendum for the Donetsk region like the one being planned in Crimea, is under investigation for separatism.

The local businessman, who owns an advertising agency, was proclaimed governor at a demonstration on Monday.

Police earlier said they had arrested 75 people during an assault on the regional offices, which pro-Moscow militants had seized on Wednesday putting up a Russian flag on its roof.

Clashes between rival pro- and anti-Moscow activists broke out in the city on Wednesday, with protesters seen punching and clubbing each other.

Several people were injured and were seen being taken from the scene with bloodied faces.

Pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian groups have taken turns occupying the regional government headquarters since late Tuesday, each group hoisting its own flag before being kicked out and replaced by the other.

Donetsk is in Ukraine's industrial heartland in the predominantly Russian-speaking east of the country and was a stronghold for ousted Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych.

© 2014 AFP

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