East Ukraine leaders: regions should take control

February 22, 2014
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Protesters ride atop of what appears to be a military truck, in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Protesters in the Ukrainian capital claimed full control of the city Saturday following the signing of a Western-brokered peace deal aimed at ending the nation's three-month political crisis. The nation's embattled president, Viktor Yanukovych, reportedly had fled the capital for his support base in Ukraine's Russia-leaning east. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Regional lawmakers in Ukraine's pro-Russian east are questioning the authority of the national parliament, amid concerns that the nation may be splitting in two.

A gathering of governors, provincial officials and legislators in Kharkiv approved a statement Saturday calling on regional authorities to take full responsibility for constitutional order on their territory.

Some called for forming volunteer units to protect against force by protesters from pro-European western regions. The assembly urged the army units deployed on their territories to maintain neutrality and protect ammunition depots.

The moves came after protesters took control of Ukraine's capital and parliament sought to oust the president and form a new government.