Ukraine unrest: Dozens die as Donetsk airport ‘retaken’


Ukraine’s interior ministry says the military is now in full control of the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk after a day of bloody clashes, the BBC reports.
At least 30 pro-Russia separatists have been killed, the insurgents say. Kiev said the army suffered no casualties.
Armed separatists had tried to take over the airport early on Monday. Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko then vowed to tackle “terrorists” in the east “within hours, not months”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday again called on Mr Poroshenko to stop military operations in eastern Ukraine immediately and implement a roadmap for peace negotiated in Geneva on 17 April.
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, he said a “real war” was under way in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The regions declared independence after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in the wake of the removal of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a statement: “The airport is under our full control. The enemy suffered heavy losses. We have none.” He said operations were still continuing, and a BBC team heard sporadic gunfire on Tuesday.
The attempt to seize the airport may have been intended to prevent Mr Poroshenko from travelling there after he said his first trip would be to visit the restive east.
Mr Poroshenko, a 48-year-old billionaire and former foreign minister, was on Monday formally declared the winner of Sunday’s presidential election with 54% of the vote.
Anti-govt forces say up to 100 killed in military op
More than 50 self-defense fighters and as many civilians have been killed since Ukrainian troops stepped up their offensive in the region on Monday, according to the PM of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Boroday, rt.com informs.
“We’ve lost more than 50 self-defense fighters,” Boroday said, as cited by RIA Novosti. “Many of the casualties are a result of two Kamaz trucks having been shelled by the Ukrainian army. The trucks were driving the wounded from the battlefield near the airport. Around 15 people died there.”
Boroday spoke to journalists next to a morgue in Donestk where identification of the bodies is under way.
“Two of our Kamaz trucks were fired at from the air and from an ambush on the ground. Shooting the wounded runs contrary to all international conventions,” Boroday added.
Chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic Supreme council, Denis Pushilin, also estimated that around 100 people might have been killed by Ukrainian troops.
It’s still “impossible to pick up all of the dead bodies as snipers are shooting at anyone who tries to come near them,” Pushilin said.
Donetsk City Council, however, puts the number of casualties at 40, with the official statement released by its press office saying that “two civilians and 38 fighters died.”
Putin calls for Ukrainian government to stop crackdown on rebels
Vladimir Putin has called for the Ukrainian army to immediately end its operation against pro-Russian rebels after dozens were killed in bloody clashes, independent.co.uk informs.
In his first public comments on Ukraine since Sunday’s presidential election, the Russian President also stepped up pressure on Kiev to start a dialogue with rebel leaders as fighting continued.
The Kremlin said Mr Putin had spoken to the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, by telephone and “underscored the need for an immediate halt to the punitive military operation in the southeastern regions and the establishment of peaceful dialogue between Kiev and representatives of the regions”.

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