In addition to the dead and wounded at the police station, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported one person was killed and four others wounded in a gunfight at a checkpoint that appeared to have been set up by pro-Russian forces along the road leading from Slovyansk to the regional capital of Donetsk.
The bloody standoff comes as Kiev faces increasing unrest in the eastern, majority ethnic Russian part of the country that had been the base of support for recently ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. Ukraine’s new government and the West have accused Russia of helping instigate the protests.
On Saturday, pro-Russian mobs–some in unmarked, military-style uniforms and carrying military weapons–attacked government buildings in at least seven cities in the Donetsk region, many of them the site of key railways stations, road junctions or airports. Local Ukrainian news outlets reported Sunday that protests had spread to at least two other cities, Kharkiv and Mariupol, that lie outside of the region.
A week earlier, pro-Russian vigilantes seized control of government buildings in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk, demanding a referendum be held on granting the region more autonomy. The men were later driven out of Kharkiv and Ukrainian officials say negotiations have been ongoing to end the standoff in the other two cities.