MOSCOW: The main airport in Ukraine’s newly-declared Republic of Donetsk, which is under control of pro-Russia activists, has been targeted with airstrikes by the Ukrainian army.
According to reports, heavy gunfire and repeated explosions have been heard in the vicinity of Sergei Prokofiev International Airport.
A Ukrainian security official confirmed that fighter aircraft started targeting positions of pro-Russia activists in the facility on Monday, with two Sukhoi Su-25 jets carrying out strafing runs.
Several pro-Russia activists have reportedly been injured due to the airstrikes.
The fighting broke out after armed men, who identified themselves as representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic, seized the international airport, resulting in a halt to its flights.
Vladislav Seleznyov, a spokesman for Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” operation, wrote on his Facebook page that the attacks were launched following a failure on the part of Donetsk’s self-defense forces to comply with an ultimatum to surrender by 1 p.m. local time (1000 GMT) on Monday.
Donetsk declared independence from Ukraine following a referendum on May 12.
Pro-Russia protesters prevented the Kiev authorities from holding the presidential election in Donetsk on May 25. No polling stations were open and only seven out of 12 district electoral commissions were operating across the region.
The acting government in Kiev has been staging military operations in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine since mid-April in a bid to root out the pro-Moscow protests.
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