Column of armored vehicles carrying self-defense forces arrives in Donetsk
5 July, 16:36 -- A column of armored vehicles carrying self-defense fighters entered Donetsk on Saturday, a RIA Novosti news agency correspondent reports. Earlier reports said that a column of self-defense fighters had managed to fight their way out of Slavyansk, surrounded by Ukrainian troops, to neighboring Kramatorsk. Some media claimed, citing representatives of the Donetsk People's Republic, that Ukrainian troops had gained control of Slavyansk, but later Ukrainian sources acknowledged that fighting in Slavyansk was still going on.
A column of vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, Kamaz trucks carrying self-defense fighters and anti-aircraft guns, rode into a former army garrison and a column of fighters marched in.
'There are no Ukrainian troops in Slavyansk or Kramatorsk. We have regrouped. Part of our forces moved to Gorlovka and the other part to Donetsk,' a fighter said.
Explosions, gunfire heard near Donetsk airport
The sound of heavy explosions and gunfire has been heard near Donetsk airport on Saturday, the RIA Novosti news agency reports, citing local residents. Two fighter jets could be seen in the sky, pounding unidentified targets near the airport, eyewitnesses said.
Earlier reports said that self-defense fighters had pulled out of the town of Slavyansk.
They may presumably join their fellow fighters in an attempt to seize Donetsk airport controlled by Ukrainian troops and National Guard.
Self-defense forces leave Slavyansk, move to Kramatorsk - media
Self-defense fighters have reportedly pulled out of Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine, and moved to neighboring Kramatorsk last night, the ITAR-TASS news agency reports with reference to the Novosti Donbassa (Donbass News) newspaper. After heavy clashes near Slavyansk during the night, the self-defense fighters set out towards Kramatorsk and Artyomovsk, leaving behind a small number of fighters, mostly local volunteers, at roadblocks around the town.
The leadership of the Donetsk People's Republic has confirmed that the local militia opposing the Ukrainian security forces has left Slavyansk, Russia's Channel One reported on Saturday.
'Slavyansk is under Ukrainian security forces' control. The militia had to leave the city early in the morning. The headquarters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic has confirmed this to us,' a news program host said. The news TV channel Rossiya-24 said Donetsk militia had fought their way out of Slavyansk, and their headquarters has been relocated to Kramatorsk.
On Thursday, Ukrainian troops surrounded the village of Nikolayevka near Slavyansk. The fighters trapped in the village continue to put up resistance.
DPR's HQ in Artyomovsk destroyed by Ukrainian troops - Interior Minister
Ukraine's security forces have eliminated the headquarters of the Donetsk People's Republic based in Artyomovsk, the country's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said. 'An Interior Ministry's squadron has carried out a reconnaissance raid in Artyomovsk. The headquarters of the Donetsk People's Republic has been destroyed,' Avakov wrote on Facebook.
Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko announced July 1 the end to the ceasefire between pro-Kiev forces and independence supporters in the country's east.
Just a few hours after Poroshenko lifted the ceasefire the Ukrainian Army resumed fighting on the Russian-Ukrainian border in Lugansk Region.
Lugansk and Donetsk regions refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new Kiev authorities that came to power following the February regime change in the country.
The regions held referendums on self-determination and declared themselves independent states.
Soon after, the self-proclaimed republics started to form their own governments and law enforcement agencies.
In late June, the parliament of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic passed a constitutional law on confederation with the Lugansk People's Republic into the Union of People's Republics.
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