The Ukrainian president declared ‘war’ against Russia after gunfire between pro-Moscow troops and Ukrainian special forces ended in the first fatalities of the conflict.
The country’s interior minister Arsen Avakov said a security service officer was killed near Slovyansk, east Ukraine, in gun fire today and five others were woudned. The Russian news agency RIA reported one pro-Moscow activist was killed and two others were injured.
It is the first reported gun battle in the area – where armed men loyal to Moscow have seized a number of law enforcement buildings, including a police station, in recent days.
Now, Ukraine’s authorities have said they plan to launch a ‘full-scale anti-terrorist operation’ against pro-Russian forces. A deadline for separatist militants to give up their weapons and leave buildings they have occupied has been set by the country for 6.00 GMT tomorrow.
Acting president Oleksander Turchinov said in a televised address today Russia was waging a war against Ukraine by sowing disorder in the east of the country.
He said: ‘The blood of Ukrainian heroes has been shed in a war which the Russian Federation is waging against Ukraine. The aggressor has not stopped and is continuing to sow disorder in the east of the country
‘The National Security and Defence Council has decided to launch a full-scale anti-terrorist operation involving the armed forces of Ukraine,’ he declared.
‘We will not allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of the country.’