Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ukraine Claims Victory in Rebel Stronghold

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ukraine Claims Victory in Rebel Stronghold

Article excerpt

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine * Ukrainian troops forced pro-Russian insurgents out of a key stronghold in the country's embattled east on Saturday, a significant success that suggested the government may finally be making gains in a months-long battle against a spreading separatist insurgency.

As rebels fled Slovyansk, vowing to regroup elsewhere and fight on, President Petro Poroshenko hailed the recapture of the city as "the start of a turning point" in a battle that has claimed more than 400 lives since April.

After a night of heavy fighting that saw heavy artillery fire from Ukraine's troops, government soldiers were in full control of rebel headquarters in Slovyansk, a city of about 100,000 that has been a center of the fighting between Kiev's troops and the pro- Russian insurgents.

Soldiers raised the Ukrainian flag over the City Council building, while troops carried stockpiles of weapons out of the city's administrative and police buildings, which have been under rebel control since early April. …

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