KIEV, May 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Six Ukrainian army servicemen were killed and eight were injured in armed clashes near the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Kramatorsk self-defense told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday that soldiers of the so-called Ukrainian National Guard have surrounded the village of Oktyabrskoye located 15 kilometers from Kramatorsk.
The armed clash started when a convoy of Ukrainian law enforcers’ armored vehicles was going along a road near Oktyabrskoye, and militiamen tried to stop its movement, he said, adding that at least three Ukrainian armed forces helicopters have landed there, he told ITAR-TASS.Oktyabrskoye is reportedly completely surrounded by National Guard forces. Separate detachments are involved in a mopping-up operation in the city. Local residents say they received threats of violence should they tell someone about the law enforcers’ actions.
Ukraine saw a coup in February. New people were propelled to power amid riots as President Yanukovych had to leave the country citing security concerns the same month.
After Crimea’s accession to Russia on March 18 following a referendum two days before, protests against the new Ukrainian leaders erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories, with demonstrators seizing some government buildings and demanding federalization.
Kiev has been conducting a punitive operation against pro-federalization activists.
The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine.