Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ukraine retakes key city in east

KIEV, Ukraine — Government troops ousted pro-Russian separatists and raised the national flag over a port city in the east and regained control over a stretch of the border with Russia, Ukrainian officials announced Friday.

The predawn attack on separatist strongholds in the city of Mariupol, the second-largest city in the Donetsk region, was over in less than six hours, according to the interior minister, Arsen Avakov. At least five separatists were reported killed and four Ukrainian soldiers were wounded.

Mariupol is considered strategically important because it is situated on major roads and because steel is exported through its port. Separatists have infiltrated Mariupol several times in the conflict, and full Ukrainian control may prove to be only temporary. But in a sign that Ukrainians expect to stay in charge, President Petro Poroshenko ordered Serhiy Taruta, the Donetsk governor who has been ruling from Kiev in recent weeks, to relocate to Mariupol.

After a series of setbacks, the battlefield victory underscores a growing confidence among Ukrainian officials that the tide may have turned in the conflict that has raged since April.

Poroshenko has called on the separatists to lay down their arms and said he will negotiate with anyone who doesn't have the blood of innocents on his hands. At the same time, the army has been increasingly aggressive in attacking separatists, who control a swath of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where they have proclaimed "People's Republics" and have asked for international recognition from several countries such as Russia and Venezuela.

Avakov also said Friday that government troops again controlled a 75-mile stretch of the 1,250-mile border that had been in the hands of insurgents.

An aide, Anton Gerashchenko, predicted that the entire border would be under Ukrainian control by this weekend.

The border, which was considered porous even before the conflict began, has been easily crossed by fighters and convoys bearing supplies.

On Wednesday, three seemingly old and decommissioned tanks rumbled through the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Ukrainian officials said they came across the border from Russia, but Russia denied that.

On Friday in Washington, State Department officials said Russia had sent tanks and rocket launchers to the rebels. Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States had information that Russia has accumulated tanks of a type no longer used by its own forces at a site in southwest Russia, and some had recently left that spot.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has urged separatists to lay down their arms.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has urged separatists to lay down their arms.

Ukraine retakes key city in east 06/13/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Accountability plan, post-Irma, turnarounds and more


    ACCOUNTABILITY: The Florida Department of Education submits a revised Every Student Succeeds Act plan without the waiver requests it had originally proposed. Experts and advocates …

    High Point Elementary teacher Kristen Bierman works with English language learners on their reading skills. The state wants to test all students in English, saying it's Florida law.
  2. Rays morning after: Zim's legacy felt on bunt play



  3. Work, threats continue as Hernando recovers from Irma

    Local Government


    Hurricane Irma's fierce winds are becoming a memory, but the water the storm left behind has become a real threat on Hernando's east side.

    This aerial drone view shows flooding on the Withlacoochee River in the Talisman Estates area of east Hernando, south of Ridge Manor. The river is about 6 feet above flood stage, and its floodwaters are not expected to recede for days.
  4. A boy and a girl stare at the camera from their house after Hurrciane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Prss]
  5. Forecast: Dry air, hot temperatures remain in control across Tampa Bay


    Dry but hot weather will continue Thursday across Tampa Bay with only a 20 percent chance of showers forecast for the afternoon.

    7 day forecast. [WTSP]