Ukraine crisis: 'Nervous neutrality' of a small town
1 May 2014 Last updated at 08:16 BST
Pro-Russian groups have now taken control of official buildings in many cities across eastern Ukraine.
They have often been led by armed men who have forced their way in - then raised the Russian national flag.
Those inside have had to surrender, and leave.
But at the same time, groups of political activists have been touring the region - holding peaceful meetings to try to rally support for a referendum on the future status of eastern Ukraine.
Sarah Rainsford was in the small town of Mar'inka, just outside Donetsk, as the activists arrived.