Ukraine crisis: Ukraine-based oligarch calls for rally against separatists

Thousands of people in several eastern Ukrainian cities attended peace rallies against pro-Russian separatists called by one of the country’s richest men, Rinat Akhmetov. The metals tycoon accused the pro-Russian rebels of looting and “fighting against the citizens” of the region.

In his strongest condemnation yet of rebels who have seized strategic points in towns in the heavily industrialized Russian-speaking east, Rinat Akhmetov urged people to unite “for Donbass without weapons! For Donbass without masks!”

Akhmetov, a coal and steel magnate who has an estimated 300,000 employees on his payroll and enjoys huge authority in the region, said Ukrainians should stage a “peaceful warning protest” at their companies from noon on Tuesday when sirens would sound across the region.

Akhmetov called for the peaceful rallies to be held until peace is restored in the country.

Rinat Akhmetov is said to have a total of 11.4 billion dollars according to Forbes magazine.