Ukraine army expands military ops in east

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KIEV: Ukraine’s army on Saturday broadened a military offensive to retake control of rebel-held towns and cities in the chaotic east of the country, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. “Overnight, forces participating in the anti-terrorist operation in Kramatorsk took control of the TV tower that was previously held by the terrorists,” added the minister. Kramatorsk lies some 17 kilometers (10 miles) to the south of the flashpoint town of Slavyansk, where the army mounted a major offensive on Friday that claimed at least nine lives, including two servicemen as rebels shot down a pair of army helicopters. More than 30 people died in what Avakov called a “criminal” blaze in the southern port city of Odessa following deadly clashes between pro-Russian militants and supporters of national unity. Russia has an estimated 40,000 troops on the Ukrainian border and Kiev has reintroduced conscription and put its armed force on full combat alert, fearing an imminent invasion.
AFP

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