KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Crowds of pro-Russian demonstrators have stormed government buildings in several major cities in eastern Ukraine.
In one city (Donetsk) 50 miles west of the Russian border, a large group of people surged into the provincial government building and smashed windows. Activists in the building said they want to hold a referendum for the province to join Russia, as Crimea did.
Secessionist sentiment has sparked frequent protests in eastern Ukraine since Ukraine's Russia-friendly president was ousted in February.
Eastern Ukraine was the heartland of support for Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich), the president who fled to Russia in February after months of protests. About half of the region's residents are ethnic Russians.
APPHOTO XAZ118: Pro-Russian activists hold a huge Russian national flag in front of the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 6, 2014. In Donetsk a large group of people surged into the provincial government building and smashed windows. A gathering of several hundred, many of them waving Russian flags, then listened to speeches delivered from a balcony emblazoned with a banner reading a "Donetsk Republic". (AP Photo/Andrey Basevich) (6 Apr 2014)
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