Ukrainian troops storm eastern police HQ

2014-05-09 15:08
(Max Vetrov, AFP)

(Max Vetrov, AFP)

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Kiev - Ukrainian forces attacked the police headquarters in the south-eastern port city of Mariupol on Friday in an attempt to drive out pro-Russian militants, and the building caught fire, according to a Ukrainian parliamentary deputy.

The deputy, Oleh Lyashko, said eight rebels had been killed in fighting.

A local photographer at the scene told Reuters the building was ablaze and that two bodies were lying in the street outside.

"One of them is definitely a police officer," he said.

Local police in the eastern Donetsk region, centre of a pro-Russian rebellion against Kiev, said they could not comment.

Mariupol, in the heart of a self-declared "People's Republic" declared by local pro-Russian rebels, has been the focus of days of skirmishing between Ukrainian police and separatist gunmen.

Tetyana Ignatchenko, a journalist in Mariupol, said there was fierce fighting outside the police headquarters.

Ukrainian forces had brought several armoured cars into the town, a major industrial and shipping centre with a population of about half a million, she said.

Local media said separatists had seized a tank in the centre of town and build barricades around the town.

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