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Armed men seize eastern Ukraine police station

Armed men seize eastern Ukraine police station
Masked pro-Russian activists look out of a window of the regional prosecutor's office they occupied Saturday as riot police stand nearby in Donetsk, Ukraine. Also Saturday, at least a dozen armed men seized a police station in Slovyansk, a small town about 55 miles south of Donetsk. (Efrem Lukatsky / Associated Press)

DONETSK, Ukraine — At least a dozen armed men have seized a police station in a small town in eastern Ukraine as tensions in the country's Russian-speaking regions intensify.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said men in camouflage uniforms stormed a police station in Slovyansk early Saturday. The town is about 55 miles south of the regional center, Donetsk, where pro-Russian protesters have occupied a government building for nearly a week.

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Interior Minister Arsen Avakov pledged a "very tough response" to the seizure.

Video posted to a local website showed several armed men in balaclavas guarding the entrance to the police station.

Protesters who have held the administration building in Donetsk since Sunday initially called for a referendum on secession but later reduced the demand to a vote on autonomy within Ukraine.

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