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“A person was wounded” in the gunfire. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Security Service confirmed that a helicopter Mil Mi-24 had been downed earlier in the day and “one pilot was killed.” Another pilot “was captured,” the security service claimed. Meanwhile, a representative of Sloviansk’s police has confirmed to ITAR-TASS earlier in the day that a wounded pilot “was taken to hospital.” Meanwhile, one more chopper Mi-24 “has made an emergency landing.”
The country’s Security Service also claimed that “nine checkpoints were taken under control on the outskirts of Sloviansk.
“Armored vehicles are securing the assault by landing troops,” the policeman said. He said he is at a checkpoint in the city center.
Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities, who were propelled to power in Kiev amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February, erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions in March after Crimea's incorporation by Russia. Demonstrators, who are demanding referendums on the country’s federalization, seized some government buildings.The Kiev authorities have been conducting an antiterrorism operation in eastern Ukraine. Russia, which does not recognize the de facto Ukrainian leaders brought to power by the coup, has condemned the operation, apparently aimed to crack down on Ukrainian nationals supporting federalization.
Crimea's urge to reunify with Russia was caused by the republic's refusal to accept the new Kiev authorities. In a March 16 referendum, Crimeans overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and accede to Russia. The reunification deal with Moscow was signed March 18.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when it was gifted to Ukraine by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.