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MARIUPOL, Ukraine (AP) - Pro-Russian insurgents have retreated from government buildings in a major eastern Ukrainian city as steelworkers began citizen patrols.

German Mandrakov, who was once the commander of Mariupol's occupied governmental building, told The Associated Press on Friday that his associates fled while he was "forced" to leave the building.

Mariupol, second-largest city in the Donetsk-region, was one of the cities in the east overrun by pro-Russian protesters who have been in control of government buildings there for weeks.

Citizen patrols began earlier this week as Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man who is believed to wield great influence in the area, urged the steelworkers of his factories to help the police restore order in the city.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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