December 18, 2014
Separatists seize control of TV HQ in Donetsk
Pro-Russian separatists have seized control of the offices of regional state television in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and said they would take it off air and broadcast a Kremlin-backed Russian channel instead.
A Reuters reporter said four separatists in masks, with truncheons and shields, were standing at the entrance to the building controlling access, while more separatists in camouflage fatigues could be seen inside.
About 15 police officers were standing a short distance away but were not trying to resist the separatists. One police lieutenant, who was sitting in a police vehicle nearby, said it would have been pointless to intervene.
It was the first time the station had been seized by the separatists, though previously a transmission tower in the Donetsk region had briefly been seized and technicians forced to broadcast Russian stations' output.
Pro-Russian separatists, some of them armed, have seized about a dozen official buildings in eastern Ukraine. They say they are rising up against a Ukrainian government they say is illegitimate, but Kiev says they are proxies of the Russian government bent on destabilising Ukraine.
About an hour after the station in Donetsk was overrun, it was still broadcasting its scheduled programmes, a children's show called "Circle of the Sun".