Pro-Russian separatists have seized Ukrainian army armoured personnel carriers and a tank 1604141

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Defence & Security News - Ukraine

 
 
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 01:35 PM
 
Pro-Russian separatists have seized Ukrainian army armoured personnel carriers and a tank.
Pro-Russian armed separatists have seized five armoured personnel carriers BTR-D and a tank from the Ukrainian army, which they then drove in a victory lap through the centre of Kramatorsk in Ukraine's east, where government forces are attempting to wrest back control of the city.
     
Pro-Russian armed separatists have seized five armoured personnel carriers BTR-D and a tank from the Ukrainian army, which they then drove in a victory lap through the centre of Kramatorsk in Ukraine's east, where government forces are attempting to wrest back control of the city.
Pro-Russian forces ride on an armoured vehicle BTR-D seized from the Ukrainian army.
     

About 100 heavily armed men, some in balaclavas and wearing military fatigues, rode on top of the seized armoured vehicles, the first of which was flying a Russian tricolour. Several hundred locals gathered around the convoy, cheering, tooting their car horns and waving in support as it rolled past Kramatorsk's railway station, not far from the airfield where Ukrainian soldiers clashed with separatists on Tuesday.

Ukrainian military helicopters hovered above the dramatic scenes in central Kramatorsk but there seemed to be no attempt by government forces to try to wrest back control of the situation.

Tensions continued to mount ahead of high-level diplomatic talks on the Ukraine crisis in Geneva on Thursday after Kiev sent in troops to oust pro-Moscow separatists from the east.

Russian commanders in the separatist east had issued pro-Kremlin militants with "shoot-to-kill" orders, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said in a statement.

On Tuesday, authorities in Kiev launched what they called an "anti-terrorist operation", sending tanks towards Slavyansk -- which remains effectively under the control of pro-Russian gunmen -- in a high-risk strategy sharply condemned by the Kremlin but supported in Washington.

The 20 tanks and armoured personnel carriers sent to Slavyansk were the most forceful response yet by the Western-backed government in Kiev to the pro-Kremlin militants' occupation of state buildings in nearly 10 cities across Ukraine's industrial heartland.

 

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