Saturday, July 05, 2014

Ukraine Officials Say Pro-Russia Rebels Flee Slovyansk Stronghold in East

Rebels Confirm Retreat, Russian State TV Says

By James Marson, WSJ

MOSCOW—Ukrainian government forces have entered the separatist stronghold of Slovyansk after the pro-Russia militants that have held the town for nearly three months fled, Ukrainian officials said Saturday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered the Ukrainian flag raised above the town, which Kiev forces had besieged for weeks in an attempt to oust rebel forces led by a Russian citizen. (Follow updates on the crisis in Ukraine.)

Russian state broadcaster First Channel said the rebels' headquarters in the regional capital of Donetsk confirmed that the separatist fighters had been forced to retreat.

The recapture of Slovyansk is a major victory for government forces, which had made slow but steady gains against militants in eastern Ukraine since a cease-fire expired on Monday. Slovyansk was one of the main centers of the insurgency, and the base of the main rebel commander, a Russian citizen who goes by the pseudonym Igor Strelkov.

(More here.)


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