Donetsk, Ukraine: Mopping-up operation in progress (video)

Ukrainian troops have dropped in Donetsk International Airport, After the terrorists’ refusal to lay arms dow they started a mopping-up operation at 13:00.

{movie}Ukrainian military helicopters fire missiles at Donetsk airport , video Russia Today|right|16660{/movie}

21:30 ‘Fights at the railway station, near the airport, in other places are reported. Ukrainian soldiers are carrying out a mopping-up operation. Locals are asked to call and report terrorists’ whereabouts. Sounds of blasts are heard, the city is smoggy. Separatists have cordoned off several roads, they are stopping cars and shooting if cars don’t stop or if they don’t like the look of them,’ Ales Barazenka reports.

{movie}Shooting in Donetsk|right|16659{/movie}

19.00 On their way to Donetsk Belsat TV journalists Ales Barazenka, Siarhei Marchyk, Yuras Wysocki came under fire near the village of Semyonovka. ‘We were blocked – Ukrainian soldiers started shooting on the on side, and separatists were returning fire. That is why we had to wait out in a shelter together with local residents,’ Ales Barazenka said.

{movie}Donetsk International Airport, 26.05.2014|right|16637{/movie}

‘At least two fighter jets are overhead and three helicopters, apparently part of the Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation against the armed separatist gument. The jets were firing anti-missile flares. Smoke was rising from the airport and repeated bursts of gunfire could be heard. The airport, built for the Euro 2012 football championships, cost the state $266 million to build,’ reports.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream Livestream from Donetsk.

Armed pro-Russian separatists took over Donetsk’s international airport terminal in eastern Ukraine on Monday after forcing its closure to flights and Reuters journalists later heard gunfire and explosions in the vicinity.

The journalists also saw smoke billowing from somewhere inside the airport perimeter as a warplane flew high overhead. A Reuters photographer earlier saw three trucks carrying dozens of armed men towards Sergei Prokofiev International Airport.

Donetsk, a city of a million that is effectively the capital of the industrial Donbass region, is largely in the hands of pro-Russian separatists who prevented local people taking part in Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday.

The gunfire erupted at the airport shortly after the election victor, Petro Poroshenko, said during a news conference in the Ukrainian capital Kiev that he would not negotiate with “terrorists” in eastern Ukraine.

Donetsk airport authorities announced its closure to flights earlier on Monday after the separatists came to the facility to demand the withdrawal from the area of Ukrainian forces, who have been policing the perimeter.

“The rebels are in the terminal. The rest of the airport area is controlled by the (Ukrainian) National Guard. The two sides are in talks now,” airport spokesman Dmitry Kosinov told Reuters before the gunfire broke out.

The pro-Moscow rebels have declared autonomous “people’s republics” in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk following makeshift referendums on May 11. They say the two regions are no longer part of Ukraine.

Only about 20 percent of the two regions’ polling stations functioned in Sunday’s presidential election and many voters stayed at home, fearful for their safety. No polling stations were open in the city of Donetsk.

A spokeswoman for the separatists said the group now at the airport was the “East” battalion which took part in clashes last Friday with Ukrainian militia just west of Donetsk in which at least two people were killed., via Reuters, Kyivpost

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