Ukraine is stepping up security as the country gets set to celebrate Victory Day on May 9, RFE/RL reports.

Ukrainian authorities have discouraged public gatherings, fearing they could spark clashes between pro-Russian activists and supporters of Ukrainian unity.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on May 8 that he worries about being "skirmished" to discredit Kyiv as the country celebrates the 69th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

Yatsenyuk spoke after separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine said they will go ahead with referendums on self-determination on May 11 despite calls by Putin to postpone them.