More than a thousand protesters gathered in Donetsk on Saturday and called on Russia to protect them from the Ukrainian military. (May 31)
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Donetsk, Ukraine - May 31, 2014
1. Various of demonstrators at Lenin Square in Donetsk
More than a thousand protesters gathered in Donetsk on Saturday and called on Russia to protect them from the Ukrainian military.
Denis Pushilin, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Donetsk People's Republic, addressed protesters in the city's Lenin Square.
He said they were "extremely grateful" to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his support despite facing pressure from the international community.
The balance of power in the Donetsk region has teetered wildly this week.
After Ukrainians elected Petro Poroshenko as the country's president, and Russia said it would respect the vote, hopes rose for a resolution to the conflict between the central government and the insurgents who want Donetsk to be part of Russia.
But a day later, the rebels launched an exceptionally bold assault, seizing Donetsk's airport.
Ukraine's military responded with previously unseen ferocity, launching airstrikes and sending in paratroopers to retake the airport.