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Published: Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 4:05:02 PM
Updated: Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 4:05:02 PM

Ukrainian flag again flies over Donetsk regional HQ

DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukraine again flew its flag over the regional administration building in the eastern city of Donetsk on Thursday after pro-Moscow demonstrators were ejected, and police at the scene said a local pro-Russian businessman and protest leader had been arrested.

"It was recommended that people leave the building. Everyone left," a police spokeswoman said.

The building had been occupied by demonstrators demanding that ties with Kiev be severed.

Police at the scene said they had arrested local businessman Pavel Gubarev, the pro-Russian self-styled "People's governor" who had demanded control of the regional security forces.

The police spokeswoman said she could not confirm any arrests, although details would be provided at a news conference. Gubarev was on a wanted list issued by the government on Wednesday.

Donetsk, home city of deposed president Viktor Yanukovich, has seen the most persistent pro-Moscow demonstrations in a wave of protests that erupted on Saturday across southern and eastern cities, hours before President Vladimir Putin declared Russia's right to invade.

Russian forces have seized Ukraine's Crimea region, an isolated Black Sea peninsula. Kiev says simultaneous protests in other cities were orchestrated by Moscow as justification for a wider assault.

Most Ukrainians in eastern and southern regions speak Russian as a native language and many are deeply suspicious of the government in Kiev. The pro-Moscow demonstrators have some support, but their tactics have also caused a backlash.

In Donetsk, anti-Russian demonstrations have been much larger than pro-Russian ones in the past two days.

The regional administration building had flown Russia's flag since Putin's declaration on Saturday, and the pro-Moscow demonstrators seized and occupied the building on Monday. They were ejected on Wednesday but recaptured the building after a day-long tussle with police.

(Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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