Ukrainian city of Donetsk epitomizes country's crisis

DONETSK, Ukraine -- Ukraine is divided down the middle.

Generally, most people in the west want ties with Western Europe. Those in the east support Russia. Now with Russia in Crimea, other places in eastern Ukraine are agitating to join Russia too.

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Pro-Russian demonstrators seized control of the governmnet building in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, but the Ukrainian authorities got it back.
CBS News
For the third day, mobs of pro-Russian demonstrators broke through lines of Ukrainian riot police and stormed city government headquarters in Donetsk.

Control of this building has come to symbolize control of Donetsk, this deeply divided city next door to Crimea.

And while the pro-Russian protesters declared victory from the rooftops on Wednesday, by Thursday afternoon they had lost control again.

More than 70 people were taken into custody. Ukrainian riot police were back in charge and the country's blue and yellow flag flew high again.

Donetsk is home to 1 million people in Ukraine's industrial heartland. It's also the hometown of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

The population is almost evenly split between those who back Ukraine's new government and the ethnic Russians who view it as an illegal one.

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Natalya Smolyakova and her friends want the Russian army to come to Donetsk.
CBS News
Many here, like Natalya Smolyakova, told CBS News they would welcome Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine.

"Yes, let Russian army come here and defend us," she said, speaking as a group gathered behind her nodded in agreement.


This city has become a flashpoint. The moment a CBS News crew started asking questions - to both sides - heated arguments, pushing and shoving broke out.

The daily confrontations have many worried that violence could erupt across all of eastern Ukraine.

  • Charlie D'Agata

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