Update: 7:10 a.m. ET
Armed, pro-Russian gunmen continue to whittle away at Kiev’s grip over its eastern territories, occupying a number government buildings in the city of Horlivka on Wednesday morning.
“They’ve taken them. The government administration and police [buildings],” a police official from Donetsk told the Moscow Times. The seizure of the state buildings in Horlivka comes a day after separatist insurgents overran several others in the nearby city of Luhansk, capital of the easternmost Ukrainian province of the same name. Police reportedly put up little or no resistance to stop the rebels.
“The regional leadership does not control its police force,” Stanislav Rechynsky, an aide to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, told Reuters. “The local police did nothing.” Luhansk is the second provincial capital in which rebel forces have acted with such impunity since the annexation of Crimea last month.
Ukraine’s interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said on Wednesday that the country’s security forces and police are “helpless” in quelling the unrest in two eastern regions that border Russia and that, in some cases, they are cooperating with the separatists who taken people hostage and seized government buildings. The new goal, he said, was avoid further agitation and the gunmen from infiltrating other parts of the east.