Six Ukrainian troops killed in pro-Russian ambush

BY Joshua Barajas  May 13, 2014 at 11:56 AM EST

An effigy depicting a representative of the Kiev authorities is hung over a barricade in the eastern Ukranian city of Slavyansk on May 13, 2014. Amid new reports of violence in eastern Ukraine, Europe stepped up diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine Tuesday, with the German foreign minister in Kiev pushing authorities and pro-Moscow rebels to come together at the negotiating table. Photo by Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images

An effigy depicting a representative of the Kiev authorities is hung over a barricade in the eastern Ukranian city of Slavyansk on May 13, 2014. Amid new reports of violence in eastern Ukraine, Europe stepped up diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine Tuesday, with the German foreign minister in Kiev pushing authorities and pro-Moscow rebels to come together at the negotiating table. Photo by Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images


At least 30 pro-Russian separatists ambushed Ukrainian troops Tuesday, killing six soldiers and wounding eight others.

Armed with grenade launchers and automatic weapons, the pro-Russia insurgency attacked the troops nearby the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine’s defense ministry said in a statement.

Kramatorsk is part of the Donetsk region, one of two regions in eastern Ukraine where residents declared independence Monday, asking to join Russia. The Kremlin, however, stopped short of discussing annexation of eastern Ukraine, much like it did with absorbing the Crimea Peninsula in March.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier flew to Kiev on Tuesday to help arrange talks between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists, adding that Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election was “crucial” to ending the crisis.

The pro-Russia insurgency has been seizing government buildings across eastern Ukraine for weeks now, in protest of the new interim government in Kiev.