Ukrainian forces moved in with tanks and armored personnel carriers to tighten their grip on Kremlin-backed rebels in the country’s restive eastern Donetsk Oblast on April 24, wiping out three rebel checkpoints on the outskirts of Sloviansk and swarming the embattled city. In doing so, at least five Kremlin-backed rebels but perhaps as many as seven were killed and one Ukrainian soldier was wounded in the anti-terror operation, security officials told the Kyiv Post.
The April 24 military push, an attempt by Ukraine to avenge a demoralizing defeat in its first try last week to purge the eastern region of separatists, resulted in the seizure of at least six of Ukraine’s armored vehicles and some of its soldiers switching allegiances. That, in turn, followed an April 13 ambush of Ukrainian counter-terrorism soldiers at the hands of Moscow-backed militants that led to the death of a Security Service captain and three more wounded.
It also threatened to escalate tensions between Kyiv and Moscow, who have traded barbs for a week since supposedly agreeing in Geneva on April 17 to deescalate the situation.