Ukrainian interior minister says militia left Slavyansk

Witnesses have reported in social media that significant numbers of armed opponents of the Kiev authorities in southeastern Ukraine, or the so-called militia, left their stronghold in Slavyansk, the Donetsk region.

Witnesses have reported in social media that significant numbers of armed opponents of the Kiev authorities in southeastern Ukraine, or the so-called militia, left their stronghold in Slavyansk, the Donetsk region.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov confirmed this information on Facebook. "Intelligence reported in the morning that Girkin [the commander of the militiamen in the Donetsk region, known also as Igor Strelkov] and a considerable number of militants have fled Slavyansk, sowing confusion among the few who stayed there. They're rolling toward Horlivka."

The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic has confirmed that the local militia opposing the Ukrainian security forces has left Slavyansk, Russia's Channel One reported on Saturday.

"Slavyansk is under Ukrainian security forces' control. The militia had to leave the city early in the morning. The headquarters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic has confirmed this to us," a news program host said.

"There was concentrated fire first," after which tanks and infantry units entered Slavyansk, street fighting started, and the militiamen decided to retreat, Channel One said.

"Despite dense fire, the convoy broke through to neighboring Kramatorsk, and some vehicles were destroyed on the way," it said.

The news TV channel Rossiya-24 said Donetsk militia had fought their way out of Slavyansk, and their headquarters has been relocated to Kramatorsk.

Channel One reported also that, in the Luhansk region, "militiamen are so far holding to their positions, countering the armed forces' attacks, and at the same time trying to help ordinary people trapped in the combat area."

Witnesses reported earlier in social media that significant numbers of militiamen had left Slavyansk.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov confirmed this information on Facebook. "Intelligence reported in the morning that Girkin [the commander of the militiamen in the Donetsk region, known also as Igor Strelkov] and a considerable number of militants have fled Slavyansk, sowing confusion among the few who stayed there. They're rolling toward Horlivka."

Some witnesses said also that a convoy of military vehicles, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and Ural trucks, arrived in Kramatorsk from Slavyansk last night.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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