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.