Pro-Russian separatists seize second provincial capital

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Hundreds of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine seized another regional government headquarters on Tuesday.
They seized the regional government\’s headquarters and prosecutor\’s office before opening fire with automatic weapons at the main police station.
Interim President Olexander Turchynov criticised local police for their "inaction" and "criminal treachery".
Following the takeovers, President Turchynov demanded the dismissal of the police chiefs in Luhansk and the other eastern city of Donetsk.
"The overwhelming majority of law enforcement bodies in the east are incapable of fulfilling their duty to defend our citizens," he said.
Local authorities say police did not offer resistance, and witnesses say gunmen raised a separatist flag over government headquarters in the city of 450,000 residents.
Until now, only the local office of the State Security Service (SBU) in Luhansk, a city of 465,000 people less than 30km (20 miles) from the Russian border, had been targeted.
The takeover appears to give pro-Moscow rebels control of a second provincial capital in the east, after separatists seized control of Donetsk Monday and set a referendum on secession for May 11. A similar vote last month led to Russia\’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
The latest takeovers come as negotiations resumed to gain the release of seven European observers taken hostage last week in the nearby city of Slovyansk.
The self-proclaimed pro-Russian mayor of that city said Tuesday he would be willing to swap the observers for pro-Russian activists held by Ukrainian authorities.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday called on Russia to leave Ukraine in peace. In an address to the non-governmental Atlantic Council, Kerry linked Moscow\’s military presence in Ukraine to an attempt to change the security landscape of eastern Europe.
Kerry also called on other NATO countries to make "credible commitments" to increasing spending on the military alliance over the next five years.
In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to reevaluate the role of Western investors in Russia\’s energy-driven economy, if sanctions imposed by Washington and the European Union continue.
Moscow also said EU sanctions were a "direct invitation for local Neo-Nazis" to continue "lawless acts" in southeast Ukraine. The Kremlin is promising a "painful" response to the sanctions. 
The latest EU sanctions list includes Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of Russia\’s armed forces. Those listed by the United States include President Putin\’s envoy to Crimea, the chief of the service protecting the Russian president, and the head of Russia\’s largest state-owned oil producer.
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the sanctions, first imposed by Washington and Brussels after Crimea was annexed, had so far caused "a quite substantial deterioration in Russia\’s already weak economy".
Name Position Sanctioned by
Putin\’s \’inner circle\’

Gennady Timchenko

Founder of Gunvor (oil and energy market trading)

US

Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg

Co-owners of SMP Bank and SGM Group

US

Yuri Kovalchuk

Largest single shareholder of Bank Rossiya

US

Igor Sechin

Head of Rosneft (petroleum company)

US

Government officials

Sergei Ivanov

Chief of staff for Presidential Executive Office

US

Oleg Belaventsev

Russian presidential envoy to Crimea

US and EU

Vladimir Yakunin

Chairman of Russian Railways

US

Igor Sergun

Director of GRU

US and EU

Valery Gerasimov

Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces

EU

Vladimir Kozhin

Head of administration

US

Viktor Ivanov

Director of Federal Drug Control Service

US

Sergei Naryshkin

Speaker of the lower house of parliament

US and EU

Vladislav Surkov

Presidential aide and election adviser

US and EU

Dmitry Rogozin

Deputy Prime Minister

US and EU

Sergei Glazyev

Adviser on Ukraine policy

US and EU

Sergei Mironov

Member of Russian Parliament

US

Dmitry Kozak

Deputy Prime Minister

US and EU

Ludmila Shvetsova

Deputy Chair State Duma

EU

Sergei Chemezov

Director of Rostec (state high-technologies division)

US

Others

Bank Rossiya

Russian bank

US

Dmitry Kiselyov

State television news anchor

EU

Source: Agencies

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