Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ukraine Claims Victory In Rebel Stronghold Of Slovyansk

Ukrainian security forces cleared pro-Russian separatists out of two eastern cities Saturday -- significant developments, though hardly conclusive, in the effort to bring unity and stability to the European nation. The Ukrainian flag was raised Saturday over Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, a pair of flashpoint cities that have been strongholds of groups advocating independence from the Kiev-based national government for months. President Petro Poroshenko's officed announced Saturday that separatists had left Slovyansk. Clearing this key city was very difficult, since militants hid inside residential buildings and other facilities where civilians are, according to Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Defense and Security Council. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said most of the militants had left. "They are running. This morning intelligence suggests that (separatist militant leader Igor) Girkin and a significant number of fighters have fled Slovyansk. ... Some remain. Rest going to Gorlovka," he wrote.

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