Interim president speaks about Ukrainian military's successes in Slavyansk, Kramatorsk

A fortified area was destroyed in Slavyansk in the early hours of Thursday, Ukraine's acting president and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said.

A fortified area was destroyed in Slavyansk in the early hours of Thursday, Ukraine's interim president and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said.

"A fortified area in Slavyansk was attacked and destroyed last night," Turchynov said while opening the session of the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday morning.

"A five-kilometer area around the television tower, which broadcasts Ukrainian television to Kramatorsk, Slavyansk and other areas of the Donetsk region, is fully cleansed," he said.

Turchynov also said a covered base has been destroyed near Kramatorsk. "'The terrorists' covered military base was fully destroyed in the anti-terrorist operation near Kramatorsk last night," he said.

Turchynov did not give any information on the casualties.

Dmytro Tymchuk, coordinator of the Kiev-based group Information Resistance, said on Facebook on Thursday morning that the final stage of the Ukrainian military operation is unfolding in the village of Starovarvarovka, Oleksandrovsky district of the Donetsk region.

"According to operative information possessed by Information resistance, the final stage of the Ukrainian military operation is beginning in the area of the populated area of Starovarvarovka, 30 kilometers from Kramatorsk. The populated area where a terrorist group is located is fully encircled by the military," Tymchuk said.

According to Tymchuk, the people opposing the Kiev administration are defending themselves in residential buildings. "The administration of this operation is taking measures to adjust the actions to prevent civilians from being hurt during the neutralization of the militants," he said.

According to Tymchuk, some Ukrainian troops have been wounded, but no one has been killed. He also said he has no precise information on the enemy's casualties.

The Ukrainian media reported in the early hours of May 14 that fighting was going on in the outskirts of the village of Starovarvarovka. The Ukrainian military tried to eliminate a group of armed people who were in the forest. The media assumed that the people were the ones who ambushed Ukrainian paratroopers in the Slavyansk district on May 13 (six Ukrainian troops were then killed).

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service has confirmed the information on the fighting, saying that some Ukrainian troops have been wounded and none of them have been killed.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Slavyansk pro-autonomy militia have denied the statements on the destruction of a fortified area and the "cleansing" of the territory around the television tower.

"We are denying the statements made by Mr Turchynov. All checkpoints and fortified areas are still occupied by the self-defense forces," Valery Blagodetelev, press officer for the Slovyansk "people's mayor," told Interfax on Thursday.

"As to the 'cleansing' of the five-kilometer zone around the television tower, this statement is also false. Our self-defense forces have not taken this position, they are not there," Blagodetelev said.

Blagodetelev said "the Ukrainian troops keep taking positions near the television tower and leaving them, and the self-defense forces just observe the movements by the Ukrainian troops."

He also said that a document on the ultimatum given to Kiev by the command of the "Donetsk People's Republic" demanding the withdrawal of the troops from the region has not been seen in Slavyansk yet.

"I learned about this ultimatum from the news. I don't know anything about the reaction of the head of the Slovyansk self-defense forces' headquarters," Blagodetelev said.

In the meantime, Slovyansk "people's mayor" Vyacheslav Ponomaryov told Interfax in the early hours of Thursday that Ukrainian troops had suffered serious losses in the fighting with the self-defense forces near Slovyansk and Kramatorsk on May 14.

"Eleven Ukrainian troops were killed and 24 were wounded, and we lost one person. The enemy keeps shooting at Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. They are not storming the cities, but they try to cause panic among the population," Ponomaryov said.

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