Ukrainian troops have engaged in gunbattles with a pro-Russia militia occupying an eastern city – an apparent escalation of a security sweep to bring the region back under government control.
Gunfire and multiple explosions could be heard Monday in Slovyansk, a city of 125,000 people that has become the focus of the armed anti-government insurgency.
A spokesman with the pro-Russia militia in Slovyansk said people were being killed and wounded in the fighting, but offered no specific figures.
An Associated Press crew saw at least four ambulances rushing injured people to a city hospital. Hospital officials reported the death of one girl, but gave no details.
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The Interfax news agency cited Interior Minister Arsen Avakov as saying that pro-Russia forces were deploying large-caliber weapons and mortars.