Pro-Russian activists attacked a pro-Kiev rally in Crimea with clubs and whips on Sunday as thousands took to the streets across Ukraine in rival demonstrations, escalating separatist tensions in the troubled ex-Soviet state. Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk vowed Ukraine would not cede "an inch" of its territory to Moscow after Russian forces and pro-Kremlin gunmen took over the Black Sea peninsula. "This is our land," Yatsenyuk told a crowd of several thousand in the capital that was also attended by Russian former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in prison in Russia and is a top critic of President Vladimir Putin. The standoff in Crimea has set Europe and the United States against Russia over Ukraine's future in the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War.
Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - Russian flags flooded Lenin Square in the centre of Crimea's capital Simferopol Sunday as thousands rallied in support of Moscow's takeover of the peninsula -- vastly overwhelming a smaller pro-Ukraine demonstration nearby. The rival rallies in Simferopol were peaceful, in contrast to the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where about 100 pro-Russians with clubs and whips attacked some 20 people who were guarding a pro-Ukraine rally. Some 10,000 people joined the pro-Russia rally in Simferopol, chanting "Russia! Russia!" as a navy band played patriotic Russian songs and dancers twirled on stage. "We will overcome all adversity, all obstacles and we will restore historic justice," the newly installed pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, told the crowd.