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Separatist Rebels Seize Ukrainian Coal Mines, Demand Explosives

Pro-Russia separatists have seized four Ukrainian coal mines in the east of the conflict-torn country and demanded its workers to supply them with explosives, Hindustan Times reports.

The latest attack comes as the country prepares for a presidential election on Sunday that rebels have vowed to disrupt. It remains unclear how many protesters were involved or what happened to the miners.

Ukraine's coal industry, one of the main engines of the nation’s economy, began attracting headlines last week, after an influential business magnate and mine-owner turned on the pro-Russia separatist movement.

Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man, on Monday criticized separatists for disrupting operations and pressed his employees to hold protests at their workplaces "until peace is established," the BBC reported.

Related Article: Putin Has Crimea, But Reaping Its Energy Riches May Prove Difficult

The mining magnate ended months of neutrality to protect his companies' interests, which are concentrated in the industrial heartlands of east Ukraine. According to The New York Times, Akhmetov has been organizing his employees into patrols since Tuesday. He wanted them to take back the port city of Mariupol, being held by separatists.

Pro-Russian separatists took over government buildings in April and declared independence after a referendum May 11 that was condemned by Kiev and Western nations. Ukrainians complain their country is being divided against their will and that they're unable to publicly express their support for unified nation.

By Cecilia Jamasmie


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