KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens of armed people in combat fatigues have deployed to main administrative buildings in Luhansk, a major city in rebel-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine, in a sign of a split in the rebel leadership.

The armed men answer to Igor Kornet, the interior minister in the separatist government of the Luhansk region, who was dismissed by the chief rebel leader, Igor Plotnitsky.

Kornet refused to step down and said Tuesday that he arrested several members of the rebel leadership because of their alleged links to Ukrainian special services.

Plotnitsky, in turn, accused Kornet of trying to "cling to power at the cost of destabilizing the situation," adding that his actions will be quickly "neutralized." Plotnitsky said the arrests made by Kornet were unfounded.

Separatist leadership has been plagued by infighting.