Vitali Klitschko visits Donetsk in bid to ease Ukraine divisions

Vitali Klitschko speaks to the media in Donetsk. Credit: ITV News/Emma Murphy

Vitali Klitschko's visit to the eastern city of Donetsk is clearly an attempt to try to ease the divisions with Ukraine. There is deep suspicion - indeed dislike - among some in the Russian speaking East towards the new Government and those in Kiev.

Though not part of the current administration, Klitschko will stand for President later in the year and support from the east will be crucial. As a Russian speaker he did command support across the country. How much his involvement with the Maidan revolution will have damaged his standing will become clear from the reaction he gets here.

In Donestsk and the wider Donbass region Maidan is seen as dangerous, nationalist force, bringing into power a government viewed as a threat to ethnic Russian values. That within days they introduced, then repealed, a law to axe Russian as the second official language only added to those fears.

As a relatively new face in politics, Vitali Klitschko is seen to be less caught up with oligarchs, big business and corruption which have been widely blamed for the current state of Ukraine. That appeals to all parts of the country. However he arrives in a city which for weeks now has seen pro-Russian supporters out on the streets demanding the right for the East to be independent of Ukraine or part of Russia.