May 3, 2014
Fighting, street battles are raging in Kramatorsk. 10 residents died and almost 30 were injured in the fighting that broke out overnight near the eastern Ukrainian city, according to a self-defense leader.
“Last night 10 people on our side died, they were all unarmed civilians,” the leader, who wouldn’t disclose his identity, told RIA Novosti.
He added that 30 people were wounded after the Ukrainian army opened fire.
Fighting in Kramatorsk continued into Saturday, with the Ukrainian security forces moving forward despite resistance from self-defense squads.
Via Facebook, Interim Interior Minister Arsen Avakov asked local residents to stay indoors.
Earlier, he said that two checkpoints near Kramatorsk had been destroyed and the TV tower had been taken.
Snipers who are controlled by the Kiev government occupied multi-storey buildings and fire from there, an unnamed source in the Donbass self-defense HQ told Interfax news agency. He added that the fighting is going on on the city streets, with different kinds of weapons used.
The source also claims there are dead in the fighting, “most of them civilians who happened to be next to the location where the fighting is now on.”
The Ukrainian army’s assault on Kramatorsk started on Friday night. Earlier reports said that one self-defense activist was killed and nine were injured.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov warned that the special military operation in Kramatorsk would resume on Saturday morning, adding that the military has already taken control of the city’s TV tower.
“The active phase of the operation will continue at sunrise,” Avakov said on his Facebook page. “We are not going to stop.”
Avakov also said two self-defense checkpoints were destroyed near Kramatorsk airport.
The storming of Kramatorsk is part of a wider military operation in eastern Ukraine, which intensified on Friday morning when Ukrainian troops attacked the anti-government stronghold of Slavyansk. The city was surrounded by the military with dozens of APCs and 20 helicopters engaged in the operation.
The fighting has reportedly resulted in three casualties. Two helicopter pilots have died, according to Ukrainian military officials, while self-defense forces in Slavyansk said that one of their members was killed.
Also on Friday, clashes in Odessa between supporters of the authorities in Kiev and anti-government protesters turned deadly and claimed the lives of 46 people. About 200 people were injured.
Much of the casualties were a result of a fire in the House of Trade Unions. Regional council member and Odessa mayoral candidate Alexey Albu, who was in the building but managed to escape, told RT that anti-government protesters barricaded themselves inside the House of Trade Unions, which was set ablaze by pro-Kiev radicals.