A military standoff between Russian SOF soldiers, commonly called “pro-Russian insurgents” and Ukraine’s military led to the first death in Sloviansk, Ukraine.
One man was killed and several others were wounded in a shootout near a roadside checkpoint, under Ukrainian military control. The Russians approached the checkpoint in a civilian car and started shooting at Ukrainian soldiers. According to a local witness, who hid his identity, a man wearing a black uniform, who was killed, was later identified as an SBU officer. “One killed and two wounded,” he explained. Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s police chief, confirmed the SBU officer’s death and added five people were injured. As reported by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, there are dead and wounded on both sides while Reuters reported that one man on the Russian side has been killed in action.
The death of the SBU officer could justify the movement of Ukrainian soldiers towards Sloviansk. In fact, Interim President Oleksander Tuchinov said Ukraine is on the verge of launching a full-scale anti-terrorist operation against pro-Russian insurgents, increasing the risk of a military confrontation with Moscow. Free Ukraine, @Ukrainolution, who monitors the situation closely, agreed to the fact that the military movement could be due to the SBU officer’s death.
Further, a Ukrainian soldiers who drove an armoured personal carrier (APC) to the checkpoint was also wounded in the attack. The Ukrainian military commander, Aleksandr, who refused to give his last name, confirmed the confrontation and explained that the people responsible escaped in a nearby forest. He also confirmed there were wounded, including the APC driver, but no deaths on the Ukrainian military side. When asked if the Ukrainian soldiers shot back, he gave no comments.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has sent special operation forces (SOF) soldiers to Sloviansk to seize back control of the city from pro-Russian militants. Sloviansk is one of three eastern Ukrainian city invaded by well-trained, armed men wearing typical Russian military camouflage uniforms. Kramatorsk and Druzhkovka were the two other cities to fall under the Pro-Russian militants control. They immediately took control of the police stations and other government buildings. Russia has cautioned Ukraine that they will defend pro-Russian populations in Eastern Ukraine. US Secretary John Kerry advised Russia to pull its troops back from Ukraine’s border or they would face “additional consequences.”