A railway station at the forefront of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, Ukraine, was the scene of fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian separatists Monday, Reuters reports. The rebels claim the clash was an attempt by the Ukrainian government to take back the city, although Kiev denied sending in its regular army.
Instead, they claimed a small group of pro-government Ukrainians was fighting the rebels.
Five were killed with 12 more wounded in a skirmish that took place around the railway station and at an airport just outside the city.
But the fighting eased shortly after it had begun. Trains were up and running by late afternoon, according to Reuters.
The separatists have not been very cooperative with the media:
A pro-Russian separatist, Sergei Kavtaradze, told Al Jazeera that at least four tanks and armoured vehicles were engaging in combat with rebel soldiers, while two tanks belonging to the separatists were reported heading to the railway station.
There were apparently civilian casualties. A woman was killed as she walked near a small playground, where two other men were found dead nearby, the New York Times reports.
“They are trying to push the (Donetsk People’s Republic) back, but they end up hitting us,” Yevgeny Zhitnikov, a 17-year-old resident of Donetsk, told the Times. “Victory is more important to them than human life.”
Within the message, which Business Insider has translated, Strelkov claims that Ukrainian forces fled the city. He also referred to them as “укры,” an anti-Ukrainian racial slur. He added that either 13 or 14 people had been killed throughout the day.
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