Ukraine Airport Captured by Pro-Russian Rebels, Government Troops Strike Back

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | May 27, 2014 10:27 AM EST

Pro-Russian separatist rebels took control of an airport in Russia. Thereafter, a fierce fight started between the Ukrainian government troops and the rebels.

REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A military truck with armed pro-Russian militants drives through a police check-point towards the airport of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk May 26, 2014.

Government forces launched air attacks after pro-Russia rebels took control of Donetsk airport in Ukraine on Monday, May 26. The Kievsky neighbourhood, which is situated in the north of Donetsk, artillery booms confused pedestrians who started looking around the sky, the New York Times reported. A fierce gun fight started soon after. There was smoke coming off the airport area. The grassy area was torn by the automatic gunfire between the government troops and the rebels.

Alexei Dmitrashkovsky, a spokesman for the operation, said that a couple of SU-25 Ukrainian military jets went over the airport and fired warning shots. According to him, the rebels shot at the planes "in a chaotic way." The fire-fight started after a MIG-24 fighter plane along with two helicopters had dropped a troop of soldiers on the airport territory. The anti-aircraft missiles were destroyed, according to Dmitrashkovsky who said that "Currently the territory is being cleansed."

Petro O. Poroshenko registered a landslide victory in Ukraine on Sunday. The airport was apparently captured shortly after Poroshenko compared the armed separatists in the east with "Somali pirates" who are responsible for "perpetual lawlessness." Poroshenko is all set to become the next President. He expressed his willingness to hold discussion with Russian authorities to put an end to the on-going political crisis.

BBC reported that Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also expressed Moscow's willingness to have peace talks with its Kiev counterpart. However, he insisted that military action against the separatists should end. Poroshenko said that he would hope to hold a meeting with Russian leaders early in June. Poroshenko is expected to meet EU leaders as well as U.S. President Barack Obama in Poland before that. Poroshenko, on the other hand, said that his government would have no intention to be lenient against the separatists. The anti-terror operation is not going to end, he emphasised.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis / )
A military truck with armed pro-Russian militants drives through a police check-point towards the airport of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk May 26, 2014.
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