Following a late night session of the National Security Council which discussed anti-terrorism measures and the possibility of introducing a state of emergency, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced a counter-terrorist operation would begin in Sloviansk under the leadership of the Security Service (SBU). The operation is said to include units from all service branches in Ukraine.
Shortly thereafter, Avakov stated that separatists had opened fire on special forces in the city. He then posted a notice to citizens in the city to leave the city center, stay at home, and avoid windows for their own safety.
Riot police were then reported to have cleared a separatist roadblock leading in to the city. Eyewitnesses stated that the Russian tricolor had been also taken down from atop the city administration. Helicopters have been seen flying over the city.
The news follows yesterday’s explosion of armed separatist uprising in the northern Donetk region city of Sloviansk, where masked men in army fatigues and bulletproof vests, armed with assault rifles captured the executive committee building, the police department and SBU office in the city, along with a sizable weapons cache.
The counter-terrorist operation would be the first sign of retaking the Donetsk region, which has thus far been apprehensive to fight back. The last notable operation of its kind took place on April 8 when Jaguar units from Vinnytsia were used in the arrest of 70 separatists in Kharkiv attempting to take over the Regional State Administration building.