March 22, 2014: After the Republic of Crimea overwhelmingly approved a referendum to rejoin Russia, protests demanding a similar secession vote in their own regions have only intensified. Over 8000 signatures were collected by protesters who rallied in Taganrog's Ukrainian partner city Mariupol
under white-blue-and-red Russian flags. They call for President Vladimir Putin to send in "peacekeeping troops" to protect the Russian-speaking majority in the region, to drive out radical ultranationalists and to help in holding a referendum to rejoin Russia.
Following the first delegation that came in early March
, the group transmitted the new appeal into The Office of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in Rostov-on-Don.
"March 8, 2014 many thousands of protesters took to the streets in Mariupol
with one wish - holding a referendum on self-determination of Donetsk Oblast. We are not allowed to do that, they say we are not worthy. Yesterday we ceased to be Ukrainian subjects, now they call us "pro-Russians", said Mr. Igor Lyutikov in an interview to regional TV channels.