Ukraine On The Verge Of Armed Conflict
Government forces are launching military action in the east part of Ukraine where clashes are taking place with pro-Russian gunmen at air field.
Shots were fired in Kramatorsk airport as Ukrainian special forces stormed in to reassert Kiev’s control. As troop helicopters hovered above and tempers flared, a Ukrainian general was set upon by a group of local people incensed that two protesters had been injured, knocking off his military-issue fur hat and yelling, “Jail him.”
At the same time as Kramatorsk airport was being seized, elite Ukrainian units were also gathering outside the nearby city of Slavyansk in an operation aimed at taking back control from armed pro- Russian groups.
The deployment involved regular army troops alongside special forces from the interior ministry and the security service in at least nine troop carriers and seven buses. Tracked troop carriers could be seen parked in the woods.
It was the first major operation since the Ukrainian government vowed to take “anti-terrorist” action if the rebels did not vacate government buildings in eastern Ukraine. A smaller, abortive operation in Slavyansk on Sunday ended in a shoot-out, in which one Ukrainian soldier died and two were wounded, apparently by pro-Russian forces.
Ukraine’s acting president said the recapture of the airport was just the first such action aimed at restoring Kiev’s control over the east.