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Ukraine forces mount blockade of rebel city: official

Ukrainian soldiers look at vehicles at a checkpoint in the village of Malinivka, east of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine April 24, 2014. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

KIEV: Ukrainian special forces launched a second phase of their operation in the east of the country on Friday by mounting a full blockade of the rebel-held city of Slaviansk, an official on the presidential staff said.

"Twenty minutes ago ... Ukrainian special forces units began the second stage, which consists of our taking the decision to blockade the city of Slaviansk completely and give no opportunity to bring in reinforcements," Serhiy Pashynsky was quoted as telling reporters by a presidential spokesman.

Pashynsky is chief-of-staff to acting president Oleksander Turchinov. Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted him adding: "The operation will continue. Its goal is to blockade the terrorists in Slaviansk and not allow casualties among civilians."

 

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