KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russian demonstrations have broken out in major cities in eastern and southern Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin asked for parliamentary permission Saturday to use troops to protect Russians in the country.
Demonstrators raised the Russian flag Saturday over Kharkhiv city hall after a demonstration turned violent. Russia supporters clashed with backers of the Ukrainian government who were guarding the building. Government supporters were left beaten and bloodied.
Demonstrators jammed a Russian flag through a broken window in an upper story.
Ukrainian and television news wires reported pro-Russians demonstrations in Donetsk and Odessa. All three cities have large Russian-speaking populations.