Fighting has erupted just outside Slavyansk, a town in east Ukraine where population voiced their protest against Kiev authorities. Ukrainian troops on tanks and armored vehicles are trying to break into the town.
According to Ukrainian Interior ministry, at least five self-defense guards have been killed and one policeman injured after the ‘antiterrorist operation’ launched by Kiev in the city. Three checkpoints erected by the anti-government protesters have also been destroyed.
Witnesses report on Twitter lavyansk self-defense forces are now burning tires to hamper the entrance of infantry vehicles from Kiev into the city.
According to the latest reports, self-defense forces have repelled the attack of the Kiev gunmen at the key checkpoint in north of Slavyansk. At least three infantry vehicles had to retreat, reports Rossiya 24.
Police has announced the beginning of the crackdown via loudspeakers and a special vehicle is currently patrolling the streets warning local people about the crackdown.
The local citizens in the city are preparing for the Kiev crackdown. The majority of shops, kindergartens and schools have been closed in the city. Only the shops selling bread and water remain open.
“Around 40 minutes ago fighting started on the outskirts of Slavyansk,” one of the leaders of self-defense forces, Miroslav Rudenko , told Interfax. We are checking reports of one dead and one injured. There are shootings at a number of checkpoints at some of Slavyansk exit-roads.”
Rudenko said it was impossible to reach self-defense leaders in Slavyansk by phone, suspecting that mobile phone connection could have been switched off.
Rossiya 24 TV channel reported there was a slow offensive by Ukrainian troops on Slavyansk.
“Now armored vehicles and special forces are just 10km away from the town,” said Rossiya 24 correspondent currently on the ground.
According to locals, at least eight armored infantry vehicles passed the village of Hrestische, near Slavyansk, on Thursday morning, reports Gazeta.ru.
At least three snipers from Ukrainian army are now at the barricades, the residents also told Gazeta.ru, adding that when one of the journalists tried to approach the barricades, the snipers opened fire.
Meanwhile, two columns of armored vehicles are heading towards Slavyansk. The first column is now 6km from the city, while the second is 3 to 4km, Mayor of Slavyansk Vyacheslav Ponomarev told Rossiya 24 TV channel.
Meanwhile, the armored infantry vehicles are currently heading towards the town of Izyum in the Kharkov Region, not far from Slavyansk.
Anti-government protesters are still controlling the checkpoints on the outskirts of Slavyansk.
Ukrainian military Mil Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters have been detected in the city of Artyomovsk near Slavyansk.
This article was posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 5:37 am