Pro-Russian protesters gather at a barricade outside the offices of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine April 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
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Police detained 70 pro-Moscow protesters occupying a regional administration building in eastern Ukraine overnight, but others held out in a standoff in two further cities in what Kiev says is a Russian-led plan to dismember the country.Ukraine says the seizure of public buildings in its mainly Russian-speaking industrial heartland on Sunday night is a replay of events in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Moscow annexed last month.Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said protesters in the town of Kharkiv had been cleared in a lightning, 18 minute "anti-terrorist" operation, pinning responsibility for the building's occupation on Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's ousted Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich.NATO warned Moscow on Tuesday of "grave consequences" to its relationship with the West if it intervened further in Ukraine.But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed U.S. accusations that Moscow was destabilising Ukraine, saying the situation could improve only if the interests of Russian speakers were taken into account.
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