Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Ukraine: 30 killed in airport clashes

Punch Newspaper published earlier today that at least 30 pro-Russia separatists have been killed so far in fighting at the airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, insurgents say.

Armed separatists tried to take over the airport on Monday.

Kiev responded with air attacks and a stand-off developed.

Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko on Monday vowed to continue “anti-terrorist operations” in the east, saying the situation should “last hours not months”.

A representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic told the BBC that reports of at least 30 dead in Monday’s fighting were accurate.

One insurgent told Associated Press the bodies had been brought to a hospital in the city.

Monday’s clashes started after separatist militants stormed the Sergei Prokofiev Donetsk airport in the early hours of the morning.

The Ukrainian military responded quickly with air strikes and an assault by heavily armed troops.

It is not clear who is in control of the airport. It was closed early on Monday.

Reporters said there was heavy gunfire throughout the day and night, with black smoke rising into the air.

The attempt to seize the airport may have been intended to prevent Mr Poroshenko from travelling there after he said his first trip in office would be to visit the restive east.

However, Mr Poroshenko has also said he wants to talk to Russia to end the crisis.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was “open to dialogue” with Poroshenko but insisted that military action against separatists must end.

Ukraine’s military is engaged in an offensive in the east to tackle armed separatists who declared independence in the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk.

The insurgency developed after pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev amid bloody street protests and calls for closer ties with the EU.

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