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Unrest Spreads as Ukraine Cracks Down on Russian Acts of ‘Aggression’

The casualties come as pro-Russia militants seized other government buildings across the Donetsk region this weekend.

by Leezel Tanglao
Apr 13 2014, 4:05pm

Photo by Reuters

Unrest across eastern Ukraine turned deadly Sunday as Ukraine officials crack down on what they are calling displays of aggression from Russia.

Ukrainian Special Forces and pro-Russian militants engaged in a gun battle in Sloviansk, where separatists took control of a police building on Saturday.

"There were dead and wounded on both sides," Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. Avakov called the action an "anti-terrorist operation."

"It is managed by Anti-terrorist Center of the Security Service of Ukraine. All the law enforcement agencies of the country are participating. Godspeed!" Avakov said in a statement.

At least one Ukrainian security officer was killed and an "unidentifiable number" of separatists died in the shootout, Reuters reported.

In his statement, Avakov said Ukraine is considering the current transgression "a display of external aggression from Russia."

Activists took refuge behind barricades in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk on Sunday April 13, as tensions remained high following two days of hostilities in the city.

Things in Ukraine have been heating up again — with brawls in parliament, violent clashes, and official buildings seized by separatists. Read more here.

Armed men, believed to be pro-Russian militia, stormed and took over the district police station in Kramatorsk, a city 96 kilometers north of Donetsk, on April 13.

The casualties come as pro-Russia militants seized other government buildings across the Donetsk region this weekend, including in the eastern Ukraine city of Kramatorsk, where separatists stormed a police station and city hall building and replaced the Ukrainian flag with a “Donetsk Republic” flag, in video footage uploaded to social media.

Protesters reportedly stormed the city council building in Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast on April 12, took down the Ukrainian flag flying on its rooftop and hoisted a ‘Donetsk Republic’ flag.

This video shows the pro-Russian protest in Kramatorsk’s central square.

Elsewhere, at least two Ukrainian activists were reportedly severely beaten after clashes with pro-Russian separatists at the Universytet Metro Station in Kharkiv, according to reports and witnesses.

At least three people were severely injured during clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protesters near Shevchenko Park in Kharkiv on Sunday afternoon, April 13.

On Saturday, Pro-Ukrainian protesters in Kharkiv hit the streets and marched for a single Ukraine.

Pro-Ukrainian protesters reportedly took to the streets in Kharkiv, western Ukraine, on April 12.

Pro-Ukrainian protesters reportedly took to the streets in Kharkiv, western Ukraine, on April 12.

Weekend of Occupation

On Saturday, armed men, believed to be pro-Russian militants, raided and took control of the police and security services building in the eastern Ukrainian city of

Sloviansk.

Tensions ran high in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk on Saturday, April 12, after armed and masked men raided the city’s police headquarters.

In local video footage, the city’s mayor is seen attempting to reason with the militants, while scuffles erupt between the armed men and locals.

Here, the city’s mayor tries to reason with the armed men, while locals get involved in scuffles.

A different group of gunmen attempted to storm the Donetsk regional prosecutor's office but were kept at bay, according to Ukraine's interior minister, Avakov said.

In the past several weeks, pro-Russian activists have stormed Ukrainian government buildings across several cities to demand a referendum similar to the one held in Crimea last month.

More brawls erupt as Kiev's deadline for occupiers passes. Read more here.

On Friday, Kiev officials did not act on their threats to evict the pro-Russian protesters still occupying government buildings in eastern Ukraine. But Ukrainian forces did evict protesters from a regional administration building in Kharkiv.