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Ukrainian troops allegedly desert to join pro-Russian forces in Slavyansk

Ukrainian troops allegedly desert to join pro-Russian forces in Slavyansk
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Armoured personnel carriers have rolled into the eastern Ukraine city of Slavyansk. Ukraine deserters or soldiers of the Russian army? The facts of what is happening appear lost in the fog of these hostilities.

The Ukrainian interim Minister of Defence Mykhailo Koval is on his way there to try and establish the nature of events.

One soldier identified himself to a reporter as a member of Ukraine’s 25th paratroop division from Dnipropetrovsk. It is alleged they have switched allegiances.

Others contend Russian special forces captured them. They have been welcomed in the city.

“I say thanks to these guys who came to protect us, nobody is afraid of them, we are more scared of people from the Pravy Sector,” said one woman who cheered the troops as they passed.

Pro-Russian militia have already seized control of the city’s government and administrative buildings. Symbolically Russian flags are everywhere.

“The Russian flag which represents all Slav nations is now flying from our vehicles. We don’t need a Ukrainian one,” said one soldier while another explained:

“I am from the Donetsk region, I will not say whereabouts. The tanks are from the Soviet Union they used to belong to the Ukrainian army.”

The soldiers were clear as to where their allegiances now lay, which country they were serving.

“The armoured personnel carriers are now taking the side of the people, the side of the Donetsk republic.”

Euronews correspondent Sergio Cantone in Slavyansk said: “The pro Russians are now taking up positions in the city, this time with tanks.They are waiting for the Ukrainian forces.”