Dozens Dead in Ukraine Airport Battle

Combat jets used against pro-Russia rebels
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 27, 2014 4:52 AM CDT
Dozens Dead in Ukraine Airport Battle
Firefighters work at a burnt ice hockey arena in Donetsk, Ukraine early today.   (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)

The bodies of at least 30 fighters have been brought to a hospital following a day of heavy fighting in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, in which government forces used combat jets against pro-Russia rebels, an insurgent spokesman says. Donetsk, a city of 1 million, was engulfed by heavy fighting yesterday when rebels moved to seize the airport, Ukraine's second-largest, and were repelled by government forces using combat jets and helicopter gunships. AP journalists witnessed sustained intensive gunfire throughout the day and into the night.

Early today, a group of unidentified men stormed Donetsk's main ice-hockey arena, which was to host the 2015 world championships, and set it ablaze, according to the mayor's office. The battles came just as billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko claimed victory in Sunday's presidential vote. Poroshenko has described the separatists as "Somali pirates," saying that arms should be used against "killers and terrorists," but he has also indicated that he wants a quick end to the military operation in the east, saying he wants it to be over in hours, not months. (More Petro Poroshenko stories.)

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