Police Take Control of Mariupol City Council – Ukraine’s Interior Minister

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Police have taken control of the city council building in southeastern Ukraine’s Mariupol, previously controlled by federalization supporters, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Thursday.

Representatives of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk earlier said unknown persons tried to storm the building, but the attack was repelled.

“The city council has been freed and can function normally. Civil society activists have played a prominent role in the events,” Avakov wrote on his Facebook page.

“The Ministry of Interior is working to provide for the normal operation of the public authority. Explosive ordnance disposal specialists are now checking the building. The State Council is taken under protection. The Mayor is already inside,” he said.

“We will seek to further stabilize the situation in the city,” Avakov added.

In February, the Ukrainian parliament backed by far-right movements ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and scheduled an early presidential election for May 25. Moscow has described the uprising in Kiev as an illegitimate fascist coup and a military seizure of power, which resulted in it taking steps to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine, including the reunification with Crimea.

Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and are urging interim authorities to hold referendums similar to the one held in Crimea last month, which led to the republic’s reunification with Russia.(CihanRia)