In eastern Ukraine, residents fear threat of civil war

DONETSK, Ukraine - With Ukraine creeping closer to civil war, Russia's foreign secretary called Wednesday for new talks to ease the crisis.

This week, scores were killed when government troops attacked pro-Russian militias that had tried to seize the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk. Scores were killed.

Three days of fierce fighting have left the people of Donetsk in fear of an all-out war.

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Julia Kurilo, a lawyer and mother to a 5-year-old daughter, supports the Ukrainian government but worries that the fighting will escalate.
CBS News

"We hear shootings. We don't feel safe," said Julia Kurilo, a lawyer and mother of a 5-year-old daughter.

Like many pro-Ukrainian people CBS News has interviewed, she was shocked when separatist fighters tried to take over the airport and was relieved to see the Ukrainian military's rapid counterattack.

"We were happy actually that it happened," she said.

Kurilo said she was happy that the government was taking action.

"At least they realize we need protection," she said.

But more separatist reinforcements were seen arriving Wednesday, driving toward the front line, including one truck towing an anti-aircraft weapon.

In one neighborhood, they're preparing for war, cutting down trees to use a crude barricades and building sandbag bunkers on street corners.

Rebel fighters are vowing to retaliate for their heavy losses and are convinced the Ukrainian army is about to attack.

Kurilo believes there will be more fighting.

"I do understand probably it's unavoidable," she said. "But I hope they find voice and words to negotiate peace."

If the situation does spiral into a civil war, Kurilo says there's nothing local residents can do about it.

"What else should we do to get ready? Nothing."

On Wednesday, President-elect Petro Poroshenko said his country is in a state of war, Crimea is being occupied by Russians, and there's no choice but to react quickly to fight those he called terrorists who are shooting people, taking over buildings and destroying law and order.

  • Charlie D'Agata

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