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LUGANSK, June 05, 20:51 /ITAR-TASS/. Kiev has closed for flights the airspace of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine, where an army operation is underway against civilians, the general director of the Lugansk International Airport Vasily Tatarinov said Thursday citing “an instruction”.
“The airport has been closed: joints between slabs on the runway are being grouted. The repair will last until June 10, but it does not mean we will open on that day,” Tatarinov told Itar-Tass.
The self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic’s spokesman, Vladimir Inogorodsky, told Itar-Tass that the Lugansk airport has been taken under control by the Ukrainian army.
On May 26, the Donetsk International Airport stopped servicing flights until June 30. If necessary, the period may be extended.
Massive protests against the new Kiev authorities, propelled to power during a coup in Ukraine in February, erupted in Ukraine’s southeastern territories, mainly the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after Crimea’s reunification with Russia following a referendum in March.
Demonstrators in the Southeast, who have been demanding Ukraine’s federalization, seized some government buildings. An antiterrorism operation, conducted by Kiev against federalization supporters since mid-April, has already claimed dozens of lives, including civilian.
Russia has repeatedly called on Kiev to stop the punitive operation, which involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation, and start dialogue with the Southeast.
The cities of Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk, Lugansk, Mariupol and Druzhkovka, as well as the inhabited localities of Semyonovka, Schastye, Krasny Liman, Andreyevka, Krasnoarmeyskoye, Karpovka, Tikhonovka, Brusovka and Karavan have been subjected to air raids and missile and howitzer attacks.
The areas’ population formed militia units and proclaimed the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.
Referendums were held in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine.
Billionaire businessman and politician Pyotr Poroshenko won the May 25 early presidential elections in Ukraine, which were set by the coup-imposed Kiev authorities. He is to be sworn in on June 7. Poroshenko earlier told media he had funded anti-government protests that led to February's coup.