Fighting continued throughout parts of Ukraine on Monday as the Kiev government carried out its “anti-terror” operations to regain control of cities occupied by pro-Russia militia.
The Associated Press and other news outlets reported heavy gunfire and explosions around the eastern city of Slovyansk, where Kiev’s army mounted its first major offensive Friday against armed pro-Russian insurgents.
Monday’s clashes in Slovyansk left four Ukrainian officers dead and 30 wounded, Ukraine Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his agency’s website. Avakov added that Ukrainian troops faced 800 pro-Russian forces armed with large-caliber weapons and mortars.
Video by Associated Press
A pro-Russia militia spokesman in Slovyansk said an unspecified number of fatalities resulted from the fighting, the AP reports.
Kiev said Monday that it also sent an elite national guard unit to the southern city of Odessa, where more than 40 people perished in a building fire amid fighting between pro-Russia militia and pro-government supporters.
The armed pro-Russia insurgency, protesting the new interim government in Kiev, has vowed to seize government buildings across the country. Kiev has confronted the insurgents head-on in Slovyansk and Odessa, because both cities are of economic and political importance to the government.
Meanwhile, anti-government uprisings elsewhere, such as in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, have not seen the same level of resistance from Kiev. On Sunday, Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Peter Leonard of the Associated Press about the situation in Donetsk.
Ukraine’s national presidential election is scheduled for May 25.