Ukrainian special forces have launched air strikes in a bid to retake control of Donetsk airport, hours after it was seized by pro-Russian separatists.
Monday’s rapid military response came as Ukraine’s newly elected president Petro Poroshenko rejected talks with the rebels, branding them bandits.
Fierce fighting ensued and gunfire and explosions could be heard as thick black smoke rose near to the hub.
The battle brought flights to a complete halt and there is speculation the rebels seized the airport intent on preventing Poroshenko from making a trip to the region, something he has promised to do.
The launch of the anti-terrorist operation appears a defiant reply to Moscow which says it is ready for dialogue with
Poroshenko but called on Kyiv to scale back its armed forces in the east.
Reporting from the fighting in Donetsk, euronews’ Sergio Cantone says: We ran to the railway bridge from the fighting to a relatively calmer area. The Republic of Donetsk forces are trying to re-enforce this area in order to repel Ukrainian troops.