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
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Sex abuse inquiry: 'Victims receive death threats' after MPs release names online
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Teenager brandishing fake gun taken down by police after demanding airtime on Netherlands' NOS TV station
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a friendly, confident i...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: At Tradewind Recruitment we are currently l...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment is currently working ...
£28000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...