Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk to protest against Kiev’s military operation in the region.
The press office of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said at least 10,000 people marched through the city on Wednesday, calling on the Ukrainian government to stop its military operations.
Among those who participated in the protest march were some 3,000 miners from Donetsk, Gorlovka, Yenakiyevo and Torez coalmines .
The protesters chanted “No more War,” calling for independence from Ukraine.
Ukrainian troops have been carrying out military operations since mid-April to suppress pro-Russia protesters in the east of the country.
The violence intensified after the two regions declared independence from Ukraine on May 12 following local referendums, in which the provinces’ residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Kiev. The referendums were called illegal by Ukrainian authorities.
The government in Kiev says it is targeting armed protesters, but reports say many civilians have been caught in the shelling that has been going on for days.
According to figures, published by Ukraine’s Health Minister last week, the death toll from clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow forces has reached 270 in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk since the operations started this spring.