KIEV, May 12 -- At least 49 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Ukraine' s eastern Donetsk region since anti-government protests erupted in mid-March, authorities said Monday.
According to the press service of Donetsk regional administration, 245 people, including Ukrainian troops and protesters have been injured since the tensions began and 65 of them still remain in local hospitals.
Most of those who were injured suffered gunshot wounds, the press service said in a statement.
For weeks, Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the eastern part of the country have been the scene of violent anti-government demonstrations, which demand independence from government in Kiev and closer ties with Russia.
To quell the wave of unrest, the Ukrainian government launched an "anti-terror" operation against activists, employing military troops.
On Sunday, referendums over the two regions' future status were held and the final results have yet to be announced.