Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has hailed the recapture of the eastern city of Slovyansk as the start of a “turning point” in Kyiv’s months-long battle against a separatist insurgency.
“It’s not a total victory,” Poroshenko told reporters. “But freeing Slovyansk from a heavily armed gang of monsters has great symbolic importance. This is the start of a turning point in the fight against the rebels for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
The retaking of the city represents Kyiv’s most notable military victory in three months of fighting.
Many of the pro-Russian rebels, who had been in control of Slovyansk since April, have reportedly retreated to Donetsk.
Some of the separatists have spoken of their disappointment in Russian President Vladimir Putin – saying that they had expected more support from Moscow in their efforts to break away from Kyiv.