Ukraine Begins Army Offensive To Regain Slavyansk; Separatists Fight Back, Shoot Down Helicopters

Tyler Durden's picture

After a few days of extended verbal foreplay, it was only a matter of time before Ukraine finally snapped and resumed a military operation to regain the lost cities in the east, especially once the warmongering IMF made it explicitly clear that should Ukraine lose control of pro-Russian controlled cities the $17 billion bailout package would be lost too. Sure enough, early this morning Kiev launched a military operation to regain control of the pro-Russian separatist stronghold of Slovyansk, overrunning numerous roadblocks and surrounding the city, officials said, but meeting stiff resistance from militants who managed to shoot down at least one helicopter.

Ukraine chopper taken down:

Pro-Russian soldier with a grenade launcher manning a checkpoint

Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a Ukrainian checkpoint near the eastern town of Slaviansk May 2, 2014.
Credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner

 A pro-Russian separatist stands guard on top of an armoured personnel carrier in the town of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine May 2, 2014.
Credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a Ukrainian checkpoint near the eastern town of Slaviansk May 2, 2014.
Credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A Ukrainian military helicopter flies near a Ukrainian checkpoint near the town of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine May 2, 2014.
Credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner

According to WSJ reporters, Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said militant fighters fought back against the advancing Ukrainian units with heavy weaponry, including grenade launchers and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. There was no immediate sign that Ukraine's forces were moving further into the city.

Separatist leaders claimed to have shot down four Ukrainian helicopters in the clash, Russian state media reported, but Ukraine's defense ministry said two helicopters had been shot down and that two soldiers were killed and several more wounded. Ukraine's state security service confirmed only one Mi-24 chopper was taken down, with one pilot killed and the other taken captive. A spokeswoman for the separatists said one person was killed and another wounded on their side.

Video clip of Ukraine army helicopters shot down in Slavyansk

Reuters adds that a third helicopter, an Mi-8 transport aircraft, was also hit and a serviceman wounded, the Defence Ministry said. The SBU security service said this helicopter was carrying medics.

Yet even this appears merely a preview of the event to come, which on request of western powers, may wait until after the market is closed on Friday afternoon.

Eight hours after Reuters journalists in Slaviansk heard shooting break out and saw one helicopter opening fire, the city of 130,000 was quiet, with shops shut and armed separatists in control of the streets while Ukrainian forces in armored vehicles had taken up positions on the outskirts of town.


Ukrainian officials said troops overran rebel checkpoints around the city in an operation launched before dawn and it was now "tightly encircled". They pointed to the heavy fire that hit the helicopters as proof of the presence of Russian forces, despite repeated denials from Moscow that it has troops on the ground or is controlling the uprising.

And then the Russian warnings started:

Putin's spokesman heaped blame on the Ukrainian government, which took power two months ago after pro-Western protests forced the Kremlin-backed elected president to flee to Russia. Noting that Putin had warned before that any "punitive operation" would be a "criminal act", Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies that this was what had now happened at Slaviansk, where separatists seeking independence or annexation by Moscow are holding seven foreign European military observers.


Saying Putin had sent an envoy, Vladimir Lukin, to southeast Ukraine to negotiate their release, Peskov said that Lukin had not been heard from since the Ukrainian operation began.


"While Russia is making efforts to de-escalate and settle the conflict, the Kiev regime has turned to firing on civilian towns with military aircraft and has begun a punitive operation, effectively destroying the last hope of survival for the Geneva accord," he said, referring to a deal on April 17 signed by Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union.

Reuters is also reporting that Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Friday that Kiev would be held responsible "first of all by its people" for its decision to launch a "punitive operation" in south-east Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking on Rossiya 24 television, called on Europe and the United States to give their assessment of the situation in the area, where "aviation is being used against the population" and urged Kiev to think again about its actions, according to the report.

About as clear a warning as one can get that Russia is about to cross the border in a "peacekeeping" mission and get involved as well: hardly the de-escalation the priced to global pax Americana, and climatic perfection rigged and manipulated markets desire.

For now, however, the eye of the military hurricane may be passing over Slavyansk:

Reuters journalists in the city heard shooting from shortly after 4 a.m. (9 p.m. EDT Thursday) and saw a military helicopter open fire. Towards midday, the city was quiet, shops were shut but rebel gunmen appeared to be still in tight control of the streets. Ukrainian troops were at a halt in the suburbs.


The SBU said the deadly use by the separatists of shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles was evidence that "trained, highly qualified foreign military specialists" were operating in the area "and not local civilians, as the Russian government says, armed only with guns taken from hunting stores".


Armed groups seeking union with Russia have seized a number of government buildings in towns in eastern Ukraine. The action in Slaviansk appeared to mark the heaviest military response by Kiev since it tightened a cordon around the city a week ago.


"They wanted to carry out some small-scale tactical operations just to scare the people," said a militant manning a checkpoint leading to the army-held airfield. "But so far things have not worked out the way they wanted."

The irony of course is that East Ukraine is for all intents and purposes lost to Kiev, and with the IMF ultimatum hanging over the acting government's head, a civil was is now all but inevitable, a war which will most certainly end up involving both Russia and NATO eventually:

"Shells came into my garden," said one local man, Gennady. "They say that they have come to defend us. But who from?" he said of the Ukrainian forces. "Civilians must stop them."  On the town's southern outskirts, eight Ukrainian armored personnel carriers cut off the road but faced a cordon two deep of local residents shouting at them to go home.

So while we await the final escalation, here is some media coverage of what really happened.

Amateur footage from a resident in Slavansk shows a plume of smoke rising from the city on Friday morning.

Pictures have emerged in social media of a wounded helicopter pilot being helped into an ambulance by self-defense forces.

Ukrainian armored vehicles presses people in Yasnogorka

Helicopters above Slavyansk:

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Flux's picture

Actually, it was two helicopters.

Had to check gold, sure enough, it's actually a little green. Too funny.

Arius's picture

People wrongly assume the prices in stock market are influenced or determined by news etc.  No, that is wrong, it is determined by the guy who pushes the strokes at his computer after he sees what are the positions of the people to be flenced ... simple, tails i win, heads you lose ... there it is 

Latina Lover's picture

May 9th is Victory Day in Russia, Ukraine over the Nazi´s. This is going to get hot. Russian tanks will be crossing the borders, once the soil dries up after the spring thaw.

Tabarnaque's picture

Nuland and all the other bitches and bastards must be proud of themselves. They finally got their civil war in Ukraine. Now thousands of people will die and loose their homes in the defense of the US dollar and a corrupt monetary/financial system.

American Dreams's picture

Yes I know my enemies
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams

Zack de la Rocha

Defy their dreams, do not comply to their dreams, remove your consent, resist... resent


Haus-Targaryen's picture

If the center of the city is assaulted, Russia will look like a bunch of pussies unless they return fire, and keep good on their word. 

Ace Ventura's picture

You know, Zack and friends appear to be collectivists at heart, but Rage Against The Machine is some of the best ass-kicking protest rock ever made.

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!

tip e. canoe's picture

The tape won the band a deal with Epic, and their leap to the majors did not go unnoticed by detractors, who questioned the revolutionary integrity of Rage Against the Machine's decision to align itself with the label's parent company, media behemoth Sony.

In December 2009, a campaign was launched on Facebook by English DJ Jon Morter and his wife Tracy, from South Woodham Ferrers. It generated nationwide publicity and took the track "Killing in the Name" to the coveted Christmas number one slot in the UK Singles Chart, which had been dominated for four consecutive years from 2005 by winners from the popular TV show The X Factor.

We're very very ecstatic and excited about the song reaching the number one spot. We want to thank everyone that participated in this incredible, organic, grass-roots campaign. It says more about the spontaneous action taken by young people throughout the UK to topple this very sterile pop monopoly. When young people decide to take action they can make what's seemingly impossible, possible.

Between Saturday 6th and Thursday 11 August 2011, thousands of people rioted in several London boroughs and in cities and towns across England.[12] The resulting chaos generated looting, arson, and mass deployment of police. The events were also called "BlackBerry riots" because people used mobile devices and social media to organise.


propaganda comes in many flavors

jwoop66's picture

Some of those who rage mostest,

            are the same as the spoildest!

jwoop66's picture

rage against the machine.


Wait!  mumsy and dada ARE the machine! 


Go Hahvahd!!




DeadFred's picture

The news is more often determined by the stock market. Not that all the events are created for the benefit of the market (although I think a few might be) but the amount of exposure an event gets in the MSM news feeds is controlled by people heavily involved in the markets.

Arius's picture

let just say, the guy at GS as plenty of advance notice and there are never suprises ...

but most importantly,he can still sell or buy into oblivion with money he doesnt have, so good luck taking the other side of the trade

...out of space's picture

OK so ZH cover westside propaganda story, voice of russia cover eastside of propaganda, but where is the truth?


Skin666's picture

Try the mainstream media



...out of space's picture

i do. i read MSM post on ZH 

X-defiler's picture

No one on Zerohedge is on Rissia's side. None of us sane people want to support a government more corrupt than Russia. Open your eyes and stop saying stupid things.

shovelhead's picture

The odd thing is that you can have 10 reporters in the field streaming live coverage but if the news chief doesn't want it to run, it won't run.

The internet now performs the investigative reporting to grab eyes and clicks and gain respect while the MSM Corpro-speak manufactures opinions to serve up like potato salad left too long in the sun.

SofaPapa's picture

Thus the need for critical thinking.  Never will the "truth" be given.  It is up to us the readers to sort the clues from the two perspectives and for each of us to form our conclusions.  Truth requires work and subtlety and is always an individual pursuit.

supermaxedout's picture

In vino veritas:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In vino veritas is a Latin phrase that translates “in wine [there is the] truth". The expression, together with its counterpart in Greek, “?? ???? ???????” (En oin?i al?theia), is found in Erasmus' Adagia, I.vii.17.[1] Pliny the Elder's Naturalis historia contains an early allusion to the phrase.[2] The Greek expression is traced back to a poem by Alcaeus.[3]

Herodotus asserts, and it is likely enough, that if the Persians took a decision while drunk, they made a rule to reconsider it when sober. Few authors between Herodotus and Lévi-Strauss would have dared to add, as Herodotus does, that if the Persians took a decision while sober, they made a rule to reconsider it when they were drunk (Histories, book 1, section 133).[4]

The Roman historian Tacitus described how the Germanic peoples always drank while holding councils, as they believed nobody could lie effectively when drunk.[ 


zerocash's picture

Krushchev gave away Crimea to Ukraine when he was drunk. We're dealing with the resulting fallout right now.

Volkodav's picture

That was already in motion by Stalin, a Georgian...

and final by Krushchev, a Ukrainian...

without asking the the people...

otherwise, it was never forseen Ukraine would evervbe seperated from Soviet

Boxed Merlot's picture

…they believed nobody could lie effectively when drunk…


While this may have some truth to it, it should also be noted that while speaking unadulterated and inebriated “truth”, it can also disclose to those listening with sober ears, the degree to which the speaker himself / herself is deceived.


Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
    and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water,
    but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Proverbs 20:1 & 5




matrix2012's picture

"OK so ZH cover westside propaganda story, voice of russia cover eastside of propaganda, but where is the truth?"


..out of space, please try CNN and FOX NEWS among others, they have deeper and broader coverages! Just stay away from the propaganda here and there; they are for adult!

Joe A's picture

Yeah, the old enemy (terrorist from the ME) has lost its charm and appeal.

Terminus C's picture

We have always been at war with Eurasia.

The irony is that we have always been at war with everybody... so changing the focus doesn't make the statement untrue.

Tabarnaque's picture

They want to isolate Russia. It is all about isolating Europe from the raising BRICS' influence. The USSA wants to force Europe into signing the TTIP. Ukraine is the perfect smoke screen to divide Western Europe from the emerging Eurasian trading zone. The USSa want to chain Western Europe into using the US dollar for decades to come with the TTIP.

Max Damage's picture

Which is why the USA wants the EU and Euro. Obama threatened the UK over leaving the EU because of this demand. The problem is the citizens of the EU are realising the EU is an old boys club designed purely to focus power on the few over the many. And they don't like it, and so more and more anti EU parties are gaining support

Ghordius's picture

yes, the US is pressuring the UK to keep being "the gateway to the EU" (White House wording, mind you)

no, FED interests would be better served if the EUR would break up, and King Dollar would reign supreme, with all european national banks scrambling to find a peg to the USD in this currency wars environment. btw, this means they would have to buy more US Treasuries

from a FED perspective, the ECB is a win/lose situation. win: a partner big enough and reliable enough to make a temporary swap in the trillion range in case shared megabanks need extra cash. lose: europeans can pool their USD-denominated FX reserves. the second part has a longer-lasting effect

meanwhile, the EU is still governed by the club members, i.e. the national governments. if the UK would just relent it's drive to force this TTIP trade pact on the EU... have a look at this PewResearch poll on what Americans and Germans think about TTIP. enlightening

tip e. canoe's picture

And, in the United States, there is a striking generation gap in attitudes relating to TTIP.

check out that gap in the generation gap between % support...  & % trust American...

again, propaganda comes in many flavors.

matrix2012's picture

And please remember that a country does not sell gas to its enemies!

It  may be a Cold War...but surely it is a Cold Winter!

A_Nejad's picture

I knew I heard somewhere about Russians and their extended rang of shoulder-fired missile technology...ah, that's where they are!

Seize Mars's picture

Well the CIA/Mossad/FoxForce5 really screwed the pooch on this one.
All the machinations in the world, boiling down to "let's just take their shit."
The mask is off, the truth is easy to see: America the hateful warmongering empire.

Arius's picture

ever thought it might be part of the plan?


EDIT: from the down arrows, people yet not ready to accept reality, i get it ... give it time.  When this is the situation in ZH imagine what is in the country.... MSM has the work cut out for them .... people will continue to hope against hope that somehow all it will change and come back... similar to the feeling of seeing your stock continuesly going down ... it takes a pro to cut the losses and get out, most never do ... very similar.

Terminus C's picture

As are all of the major powers in the world today, some are just more capable than others.  Those "pro-Russian" forces are Russian forces and the same goes for the Ukes, they are salted with Nato troops and western mercs.

There are no good guys here... none, including us for letting our governments get us into this shit because we are comfortable.


detached.amusement's picture

"America the hateful warmongering empire."

I used to take offense at that long ago....until I started doing my reading...

blabam's picture

Russia should test that S-500 thingie. 

intric8's picture

Two ukranian copters down? Good! Blood will run thicker than any IMF monetary infusion into that blown vein known as the ukraine EVER WILL. I'm sure those ukrainian boys know the true course of honor, and dignity. Crimea did- swiftly chosing not to collude with western interests. Good for them. Declare your allegIance, boys! Dont surrender your prerogative for evil zionist/eu/u.s. interests! Russia will welcome you with open arms! do the right thing!

fonzannoon's picture

I presume futures are crashing on this news?

Dr. Engali's picture

No, but gold is EXPLODING higher!!!!

BadDog's picture

Still tame and in the channel. I'm looking at $1,287 at 7:09 a.m.  Where do you see exploding?

Terminus C's picture

I'll help you out because you seem nice.  When a poster uses all caps and exclamation points, chances are he is using sarcasm.

BadDog's picture

Ahhh, polish salute! I should have caught that. Thank you.