Russia closes three border crossings with Ukraine
Iran Press TV
Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:20PM GMT
Russian officials say they have closed three major border crossings with Ukraine amid heavy fighting in Ukraine's eastern regions.
Vasily Malayev, spokesman for the Federal Security Service in the Russia's western Rostov region, said Friday that three crossings located east of Donetsk were temporarily closed
Malayev added that the decision was made due to fighting on the Ukrainian side of the border.
According to the Kiev government, Ukrainian troops have seized control of one crossing that had been controlled by pro-Russia forces.
On Thursday, Kiev launched an all-out attack on pro-Russia strongholds of Donetsk and Lugansk. The move followed recent advances by government forces, which have pushed pro-Russians closer to Ukraine's eastern borders.
Ukrainian forces regained control of the eastern city of Slavyansk on July 5 following overnight attacks. Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said fighters only left Slavyansk to protect the civilian population.
The country's mainly Russian-speaking parts in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia activists and the Ukrainian army since the government in Kiev launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush the pro-Russia protests.
Violence intensified in May after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the ongoing military campaign in Ukraine, which has also forced tens of thousands to escape to Russia.
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