Pro-Russian separatists seized a police building in eastern Ukraine Monday, despite interim President Oleksandr Turchynov’s recent threat of military action against them.
Dozens of men broke into the police station in Horlivka, near the border of Russia, while hundreds cheered them on CBS News reports. Pro-Russian gunmen are occupying several towns in eastern Ukraine and have been demanding closer ties with Russia.
Turchynov announced Sunday the government is planning a “large-scale antiterrorist” military operation against the insurgents, and accused Russia of instigating the rebellion and waging war on Ukraine.
Russia annexed Crimea last month, and has placed tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s border. Some fear Putin will use the instability and violence in eastern Ukraine as a pretext to invade.
“We will not allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of the country,” said Turchynov in a televised address, reported The Wall Street Journal. He offered amnesty for militants who surrendered the occupied buildings and gave up their weapons by Monday morning, but the deadline passed without signs of action on either side.