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Pro-Russian demonstrators burn books, storm buildings in eastern Ukraine

Published on Mar 17, 2014 1:39 AM

DONETSK, Ukraine (REUTERS) - Pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine smashed their way into public buildings and burned Ukrainian-language books on Sunday in further protests following two deadly clashes in the region last week.

Protests, some several thousand strong, spread to Russian-speaking southern districts as Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, under the control of the Russian military for two weeks, voted in a referendum on joining Russia.

Violence in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians are in the majority, has prompted warnings from Moscow that it is prepared to "defend" the rights of residents who disagree with the new pro-Western authorities in Kiev.

Clashes have broken out when rival rallies take place in proximity - pro-Russian groups against others backing the call by Ukraine's leaders for closer ties with the European Union.

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