The New York Times article speaks for itself.

Over the weekend, armed men in masks robbed the homes of several of the 150 Roma families in Slovyansk, demanding gold and money and telling the Roma that they should leave town. “They pointed a gun at me and said: ‘Where is your gold? Where is your money?’ ” Natasha Cheripovskaya, 45, said in an interview in her ransacked living room.

About a dozen masked men entered the house on Friday, she said, and stayed for about two hours, holding her and a granddaughter at gunpoint. The men, she said, told her that the new authorities in the town had decided that “ ‘we will resettle you outside the town. You aren’t needed here.’ ” The men fired bullets through windows and shot and killed the family’s dog, which was barking, leaving a bloodstain in the yard, she said.

“The neighbors saw it all but were afraid to say anything,” she said.

Ms. Cheripovskaya said seven of the town’s Roma families had been attacked. She decided to leave immediately with her husband, six children and eight grandchildren, who were packing belongings in three cars through the afternoon Sunday.

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Mr. Ponomaryov, the “people’s mayor,” told journalists that the attacks on the Roma were not motivated by ethnic hatred but an effort by his men to rid the town of drug traffickers, who he said were Roma. “There were no attacks on Roma as such,” he said. “We are cleansing the town of narcotics.”