Ukraine crisis: Several dead in fighting in Slovyansk
Clashes have been reported between pro-Russian militias and Ukrainian troops
Monday 05 May 2014
Several people have reportedly been killed in fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops in Slovyansk.
The interior ministry said four Ukrainian soldiers were dead and and 30 wounded in gun battles but did not give any information about injured rebels or civilians.
The Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, said on his agency's website that pro-Russian forces were deploying powerful weapons and mortars in the region and there were injured people on both sides.
Government troops were facing about 800 insurgents, he said.
A spokesman for a pro-Russian group in Slovyansk said an unspecified number of people had been killed and wounded in the clashes, including a 20-year-old woman killed by a stray bullet.
Heavy gunfire could be heard almost continuously on Monday and seemed closer to the centre, according to correspondents, and ambulances were seen in the area.
Earlier reports said some pro-Russian rebels were retreating from the violence.
At least two armoured vehicles used by separatists were seen fleeing the eastern outskirts of the city, which has become a rebel stronghold.
Ukrainian forces were expected to launch an offensive against the pro-Russian militants, who had taken control of several checkpoints and buildings including a television tower.
On Sunday the army cut off the main road into the city. The government in Kiev have called the manoeuvres an “anti-terror” operation.
It is one of several Ukrainian cities where pro-Russian separatists have seized official buildings and many fear violence will escalate as the government continues its military crackdown.
The Ukrainian Defence Ministry has accused Russian special forces of backing the separatists in an effort to take control of the east of the country following the annexation of Crimea.
Meanwhile, rebels are claiming that mercenaries and spies from Britain and the US are fighting on the government’s side in Andrievka, near Slovyansk.
In Odessa, which has seen days of bloody clashes between nationalist and pro-Russian rebels, a victim of the violence has been buried.
Regional parliament member Vyacheslav Markin died from burns sustained when the city's Soviet-era trade union building was set on fire.
More than 30 people were killed in the blaze and clashes outside, where shooting, grenades and molotov cocktails were reported.
It had been occupied by pro-Russian protesters, who are now vowing to take control of buildings in the Black Sea port.
As Mr Making, who was known for speaking out against the government in Kiev, was buried, 300 supporters shouted “Hero, hero!”.
Many of those at the funeral wore the Saint George black and orange ribbon that has become a symbol of the pro-Russian movement in Ukraine and said they were planning to storm the regional government building in Odessa later that afternoon.
Additional reporting by Reuters and AP
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
Yemen crisis: Meet the child soldiers who have forsaken books for Kalashnikovs
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...