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UKRAINIAN troops have launched an offensive against pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern city of Slovyansk and advanced through the city's outskirts, the nation's interior minister said.

Arsen Avakov said that government troops broke through rebel positions around the village of Semenovka on the eastern fringe of Slovyansk.

Local residents said that several Ukrainian combat jets and helicopter gunships attacked rebel positions on the eastern outskirts of Slovyansk, and heavy artillery barrages continued throughout the day yesterday. An AP journalist heard sustained gun and artillery fire and saw black smoke over the city. Ukrainian combat jets could be seen overhead.

A Ukrainian military officer said one serviceman was killed and 13 others were wounded when their vehicle came under rebel fire near Slovyansk.

The Interfax news agency quoted Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the leader of insurgents in Slovyansk, as saying that his men downed a Ukrainian jet and a helicopter gunship. The information was denied by the Ukrainian military.

Fighting escalated after the May 25 presidential election won by billionaire Petro Poroshenko.


Ukrainian army paratroopers patrol an area after a battle with pro-Russian insurgents close to Slovyansk, Ukraine, yesterday
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EXUR
Date:Jun 4, 2014
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