Slovyansk, rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine, retaken

Slovyansk, rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine, retaken
# 05 July 2014 10:17 (UTC +04:00)

Baku – APA. The eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, which was the main supporting point of terrorists with its reputation of “impregnable fortress”, has eventually been cleaned up from separatists. Local residents have posted pieces of information in this regard on social networks early Saturday morning, APA reports.

Separatists as well as Russian mercenaries have decided to leave the city after the Ukrainian army seized all strategic points on the outskirts of Slovyansk and finally freed the adjacent town of Nikolaevka as a result of a series of hard battles. On the night of July 5, they left Slovyansk and managed to break out of the encirclement of Ukrainian troops and the National Guard in the direction of Kramatorsk. Then the Ukrainian soldiers launched artillery and air assaults on them.

Sergei Garmash, editor-in-chief of the OstroV site in Donetsk, wrote on his Twitter account that all the militants had fled the city: “Block posts are empty. The city’s militia department is empty. All hostages have run away”.

Eyewitnesses say the hostages that were being kept at the militia department have seen no guarding but chosen to wait till the morning and then fled.

Slaviansk resident Peter Dudnik wrote on Facebook account that the church where the separatists were staying is already empty: “There is no one in military uniforms in our church”.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov also commented on the current situation. He said leader of the militants in Slaviansk, “Defense Minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Russian citizen Igor Girkin aka Strelkov ran out of the city: “In the morning, the intelligence service informed that Girkin and most of the militants fled Slaviansk. They are leaving towards Gorlovka and our forces are “meeting” them along the way. The terrorists are facing losses and giving up”.

Slovyansk, home to 120,000 residents, has been one of the first cities captured by pro-Russian separatists. On April 12, militants took control of the city which was even called “the second Stalingrad”.

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