Ukraine’s “anti-terrorist operation,” launched on Sunday, is finally getting some results. Ukrainian soldiers have recaptured the Kramatorsk airport.
Gunfire exchanged between Ukrainian special operation forces (SOF) soldiers, who were seen conducting an air assault from helicopters, and Pro-Russian militants could be heard in the town of Kramatorsk.
Government forces estimated that about 30 armed gunmen were defending the small airport. A Reuters correspondent in Kramatorsk witnessed four Ukrainian military helicopters approaching the small airport. Two of them landed before troops stepped out and quickly moved towards the barricades, manned by Pro-Russian locals. Locals shouted “Shame! Go back home!”
Interim President Oleksander Turchynov issued a statement confirming the soldiers reclaimed the Kramatorsk airfield from Pro-Russian militants. The Ukrainian officials proudly announced that no casualties were taken during the attack on the airfield and that an undefined amount of Pro-Russian militiamen were taken prisoner.
State security services also explained that an operation of the same magnitude was in progress in Sloviasnk.
CTV News reported that President Turchynov told the parliament about the capture of the Kramatorsk airfield.
“I just got a call from the Donetsk region: Ukrainian special forces have liberated the airport in the city of Kramatorsk from terrorists,” Turchynov told parliament. “I’m convinced that there will not be any terrorists left soon in Donetsk and other regions and they will find themselves in the dock – this is where they belong.”
According to an Associated Press reporters, at least 14 Ukrainian armoured personnel carriers contemptuously carrying the Ukraine flag on their antenna, helicopters, and military trucks were parked 40 kilometers north of the city. Heavy military equipment, along with several busloads of what it seems to be SBU officers wearing black uniforms.
“We are awaiting the order to move on Slovyansk,” said one soldier, who gave only his first name, Taras.
Ukraine had offered an amnesty to all Pro-Russian militants earlier this week asking to lay down arms and go back home. They even waited another 24 hours before finally moving forward with the operation.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon over the phone on Tuesday that the UN and the international community should denounce the Ukrainian authorities’ use of force earlier today in eastern Ukraine.
Russia vigorously advised Kyiv against their recent use of forces to dislodge Pro-Russian militants, who are barricaded and using weapons such as AK-100 rifle series and RPG-30, solely used by the Russian military.
NATO Secretary General calls Russia to stop destabilising Ukraine
Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered a powerful speech today calling Russia to stop destabilising Ukraine. I couldn’t do nothing else but to copy paste part of this speech drawn from NATO’s website.
“Through the years, we made significant progress, working together on areas such as counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and security in Afghanistan. But Russia’s annexation of Crimea ended that new beginning, and undermined the very basis of the partnership we had built with such great efforts.
Today, Russia is speaking and behaving not as a partner, but as an adversary.
While tens of thousands of combat-ready Russian troops stand poised on Ukraine’s border, Russia is also waging a propaganda war the like of which we have not seen since the end of the Cold War. Its purpose is to pervert the truth, divert attention from Russia’s illegal actions, and subvert the authorities in Ukraine.
In recent weeks, Russian officials have accused NATO of breaking its promises, interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs, and escalating the crisis. It is time to see these claims for what they are: a smokescreen designed to cover up Russia’s own broken promises, interference and escalation.”
He later explained that Russia was breaching Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.
Russia is now violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity by occupying Crimea, and violating Ukraine’s sovereignty by trying to impose a federal system. Russia has broken its word. It has done damage to its reputation that will take years to heal. Blaming NATO will not make that better; it will make it worse.
He ended his speech by calling Russia to de-escalate and that concrete steps had to be taken.
(Featured Image Courtesy: AP)