Fear of Provocations Great in Eastern Ukraine, Estonian MP Says ({{commentsTotal}})

A delegation of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly visited the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, where provocateurs are being brought in and the locals are afraid of an imminent Russian invasion, member of the delegation, Estonian MP Mailis Reps said.

Reps, a Center Party MP, said the situation in eastern Ukraine is tense and people are afraid of a Russian invasion, ETV reported on Sunday.

On Sunday, around 500 people held a demonstration in Donetsk to demand a referendum on joining Russia. Reps said the local governor claimed they were mostly tourists, and locals say the demonstrators are not residents.

They are also afraid of provocations and say the significant number of Russian troops gathering on the other side of the border are ready to rush to the aid of their compatriots.

A threat of the demonstrations spreading exists because there is lively traffic on the border and great numbers of “well-built tourists”, that is to say, provocateurs, are flooding in, Reps said. In addition, marginal local movements that demand a referendum are "encouraged and funded".

The delegation met with various organizations that all said that the locals are decidedly against a repetition of the Crimean scenario, but it cannot be ruled out that Russia would respond in the same manner to provocations, Reps said, adding that locals seem certain that some violence will soon occur.