The shattered windows of a car involved in a shootout near Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast, where heavily armed pro-Russian military men have seized numerous government buildings.
© Anastasia Vlasova
SLOVIANSK, Ukraine -- A standoff between pro-Russian insurgents and Ukraine’s militants led to the first death near Donetsk Oblast's Sloviansk, where a man was killed and several wounded in a shootout near a roadside checkpoint.
However, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said there are dead and wounded on both sides of the conflict between Ukrainian police and pro-Russian militants. News services also reported that one man from the pro-Russian insurgent side had also been killed.
One slain man in a black uniform was a Security Service of Ukraine officer, while the injured included Ukrainian soldiers who drove there in armored personal carriers, according to eyewitnesses and officials.
“I came here to report to our guys on the barricades in case the Ukrainian army approaches,” Volodymyr Kolochenko, an eyewitness, and local city council member from Communist Party, who supports the pro-Russian insurgents, told the Kyiv Post. “They approached this car, from which four men in blue and green camouflage uniforms ran out and started shooting soldiers."
Kyiv Post journalists saw a car with windows smashed by the shootings and many cartridges lying around. This car has Poltava Oblast license plate traced to the private security firm Yavir.
Three Ukrainian armored personal carriers were parked nearby.
Aleksandr, the Ukrainian military commander who didn’t give his last name, confirmed the shootouts and said the people responsible escaped to the forest. When asked if the Ukrainian soldiers shot back, he just said “no comment.” He confirmed there were wounded, but said “with our people it’s all fine.”
Kolochenko said his car was shot at four times as well. He provided the Kyiv Post with the video which showed that one Ukrainian soldier was lying on the ground shot and one man in black uniform was slumped motionless near the car with blood flowing from his body.
A local man who refused to be identified said that the slain man was an SBU officer. “One killed and two soldiers were wounded,” he said.
Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s top cop, said in a report that one SBU officer was killed and five people injured in the shootout near Slaviansk.
The Kyiv Post initially saw a motionless body inside of that car. But the man stood up, saying that he was a local taxi drier who was knocked out by people who drove the car. “They just dragged me into car,” he said. A pistol was lying near him in the car.
Locals believe that people in the car, who started shootings, were the instigators, who specially came to provoke the Ukrainian soldiers to start the attack.
“They wanted to provoke the (pro-Russian) soldiers to attack people in Sloviansk,” Kolochenko said.
Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: This article has been produced with support from the project www.mymedia.org.ua, financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and implemented by a joint venture between NIRAS and BBC Media Action.The content in this article may not necessarily reflect the views of the Danish government, NIRAS and BBC Action Media.