In Pictures: Tensions bubble in east Ukraine

Pro-Russia separatist fighters refuse to disarm despite an agreement by the US, EU, Russia and Ukraine.


Donetsk, Ukraine - Pro-Russian armed groups and crowds of unarmed residents have been confronting local authorities trying to reclaim government buildings and territory in eastern Ukraine. In the Donetsk region, separatist groups have taken full control of several locations along the strategic railway line that connects the major cities in the east of the country. 

Atop administrative buildings and police stations, the Ukrainian flag has now been replaced by the the tricolour of Russia. These moves are seen by many in Kiev as the acts of an "illegal revolutionary junta" maintaining close relations with Moscow - which the West accuses of being the main instigator in the crisis. 

In an attempt to regain control of the country, Kiev's government announced the beginning of an anti-terrorist operation intended to suppress various separatist movements. So far, the operation has shown little sign of success. 

Even though the United States, the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine agreed to the disarmament of many pro-Russian fighters in exchange for a regional referendum, the hope of calming tensions seems to be fading, as separatist leaders refuse to accept the pact.