Casualties as fighting breaks out in Ukraine port city of Mariupol

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, May 9, 2014 7:53 EDT
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Men who call themselves members of Ukraine's disbanded elite Berkut riot police force stand at their checkpoint under a Russian flag on a highway that connects the Crimean peninsula to mainland Ukraine on Feb. 28, 2014 [AFP]
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Fighting broke out Friday in Ukraine’s southeastern port city of Mariupol, causing casualties, according to reports by Ukrainian and Russian media.

An online Ukrainian news website, Insider, said eight pro-Russian militants had been killed.

Russia’s Interfax news agency said Ukrainian troops used large calibre weapons as they tried to take an occupied government building in the city.

Members of a crew from Britain’s ITV News in the city said on Twitter that they saw heavy guns being used and smoke from burning tyres rising above Mariupol.

“Just filmed serious fighting downtown Mariupol. Snipers everywhere. Heavy guns. A man got shot just next to me. Black smoke over the city,” wrote cameraman Daniel Demoustier.

Ukrainian military armoured vehicles were seen in the centre of Mariupol.

The fighting occurred as Ukraine commemorated Victory Day celebrations marking the Soviet defeat of German forces in World War II.

Kiev held low-key ceremonies while Russia — which the West accuses of fomenting Ukraine’s insurgency — put on a display of military might in Moscow’s Red Square.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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