Guardian.co.uk — April 20, 2014
Three pro-Russian militants and at least one other person were killed in a gunbattle near the volatile eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk early on Sunday, a local leader told journalists.
Vyatcheslav Ponomarev said the battle broke out at a barricade put up in a village east of Slavyansk, which is under the control of pro-Russian militants.
The state-run Rossiya 24 news station, citing its correspondent in Slavyansk, said two “attackers” were killed, in a total death toll of five.
Ukraine’s interior ministry in Kiev could not immediately be reached for comment and interior minister Arsen Avakov had no word of the reported incident on his Facebook page, where he usually posts updates on any clashes.
The self-declared mayor of Slavyansk, who supports the pro-Russian separatists in the city, said there had been a clash overnight and there were casualties, a Reuters Television team in the city said.
Separatist gunmen maintain a firm grip over a string of towns across Ukraine’s industrial east despite an international deal signed last week demanding they vacate state buildings they are occupying.
Authorities in Kiev say they have suspended military operations against the pro-Moscow rebels until after the Easter holidays, which end on Monday, in a bid to give the agreement time to stick.