Calls for a negotiated settlement appear to have been in vain, and Ukraine’s military has attacked the eastern city of Slovyansk, which has for weeks been held by protesters demanding reforms for the unelected interim government.
Death tolls are still uncertain in the ongoing invasion, but the troops met resistance from a pro-protester militia, and at least two soldiers were killed in the fighting. Interim President Oleksandr Turchinov bragged that “many insurgents” were also killed.
In addition to the fighting on the ground, the militia also shot down a pair of Ukrainian military helicopters, capturing one of the pilots. Video of the downing of one of the helicopters showed it hit by a surface-to-air missile.
One of the militia spokesmen said the fighting was continuing at several sites in Slovyansk, and that the military had made several incursions into different parts of the area.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov defended the invasion and death toll, saying that while Ukraine would normally negotiate with protesters “for terrorists and armed separatists, there is only punishment.”