Ukraine crisis: Heavy fighting in eastern town of Kramatorsk as Ukrainian official declares ‘this is in fact a war’

Eastern city descends into violent clashes as Ukrainian forces take on rebel strongholds

Tom Payne
Saturday 03 May 2014 13:00

The head of Ukraine’s anti-terrorist centre has said there is heavy fighting in the eastern town of Kramatorsk.

Vasyl Krutov made a brief statement to the news conference in which he said: "There is gunfire and clashes around Kramatorsk ... What we are facing in the Donetsk region and in the eastern regions is not just some kind of short-lived uprising, it is in fact a war."

In a later statement he added that Ukrainian forces have retaken the security service headquarters in Kramatorsk.

Local television showed pictures of armoured personnel carriers moving through the town.

Today’s clashes follow a series of Ukrainian-led dawn raids on pro-Russian strongholds near the town, which culminated in the capture of a television tower near the city.

The town of Kramatorsk is just 10 miles away from Slaviansk, the city at the centre of major unrest yesterday.

On the same day, over 30 people were killed in deadly clashes between Russian separatists and pro-Ukraine activists in the southern city of Odessa.

This morning pro-Russian separatists freed seven international military observers in eastern Ukraine along with five army officers.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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