December 21, 2014
Kiev on full military alert as separatists gain control of eastern Ukraine
Ukraine's armed forces went on full military alert to face the threat of a Russian invasion, the government said. Meanwhile, Masked gunmen in military fatigues have seized government offices in another Ukrainian town in a further sign that pro-Western authorities in Kiev are losing control of the country's eastern industrial heartland bordering Russia.
Ukraine's military will conduct exercises in central Kiev tonight, the government said, following a new warning by acting President Oleksander Turchinov about the threat of a Russian invasion.
A statement on the government's website warned residents that "columns of military hardware will move through the city" and conduct exercises. Turchinov reiterated that Ukraine's armed forces were on full military alert, citing the "real danger" of a Russian land war against Ukraine.
Attempts to contain the insurgency by the government in Kiev have proved largely unsuccessful, with security forces repeatedly outmanoeuvred by the separatists. Today, Pro-Russian separatists gained more ground over the east of the country. Gunmen turned up at dawn and seized the government offices in Horlivka, a town of almost 300,000 people.
The heavily armed men wore the same military uniforms without insignia as other unidentified "green men" who have joined pro-Russian protesters with clubs and chains in seizing control of towns across Ukraine's Donbass coal and steel belt.