Fighting Resumes: Ukraine Jets, Helicopters Strike Seized Donetsk Airport - Live Webcast

Ukraine didn't waste much time after its presidential election, which appears to have been won outright by the chocolate tycoon Poroshenko much to the humiliation of once frontrunner Tymoshenko, to resume its military operation in the east. Early this morning, the newswires blasted that Ukraine warplanes have carried out an airstrike against pro-Russian separatists at the Donetsk International Airport.

  • HELICOPTERS, EXPLOSIONS SEEN IN AREA OF DONETSK AIRPORT
  • SEPARATISTS CLASH WITH UKRAINIAN TROOPS AT DONETSK AIRPORT

This happened after forces belonging to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, which proclaimed its independence from Kiev last weekend, came to the airport demanding that Ukrainian troops leave it. The self-defense troops said some 200 Kiev soldiers were guarding the inner perimeter of the hub. All flights have been suspended.

A cllip released showing the Ukraine Su-27s flying over the airport:

At the moment, the attackers are said to be engaged in talks with the Ukrainian forces locked in the key airport of Donetsk region, which also serves Kharkov, Lugansk and Zaporozhie regions.

Here is the brief recap of events as summarized by Bloomberg:

  • Helicopters and planes seen, explosions heard in area of airport.
  • Airport building on fire
  • Paratroopers started clearing airport grounds after separatists ignored 1pm deadline to leave: Ostrov website
  • Troops destroy anti-aircraft weapon used by terrorists, local 62 newswire writes citing armed forces press secretary Aleksey Dmitrashkovsky
  • Ukraine using air strikes against rebels: Russian state-run RIA Novosti

From AP:

A Ukrainian official says the military has launched an air strike on gunmen who have occupied the airport in the eastern capital of Donetsk.

 

Vladislav Seleznyov, a spokesman for Kiev's anti-terrorist operation, wrote on his Facebook account that the military presented an ultimatum earlier this afternoon to unknown armed men who had occupied the airport to lay down the arms. He said the gunmen didn't comply and the military launched an air strike.

 

Hundreds of pro-Russian militia have seized government buildings and fought Ukrainian troops for weeks as their leaders have declared independence.

According to RT, "intensive gunfire and blasts have been heard in the vicinity of Donetsk International Airport in eastern Ukraine, and two fighter jets are flying over the facility, witnesses and self-defense forces said. The Ukrainian military are bombing the Donetsk airport, self-defense forces reported on Twitter. Earlier, at least three helicopters were seen flying towards the airport.

“The Ukrainian occupiers are conducting missile and bomb strikes on Donetsk International Airport. They are deploying military aircraft,” the message said.

"I have heard at least three blasts. Helicopters are circling over the city and military jets can be heard flying by," witnesses told local daily Ostrov.

“The fighter jet is supposedly a Sukhoi Su-27,” a self-defense member told RT. “It’s flying at an altitude of 7-10 km, going up and down, circling. Its task is unclear."

“Helicopters land at the airport, then take off,” the witness said.

Mobile connection was also down at some point, the witness added, saying Kiev’s authorities also demanded civilians are evacuated from the airport terminal’s vicinity and the landing field.

The airport has been closed “for security reasons”, and Reuters witnesses are seeing smoke billowing from the building.

Locals share photos of what they see around the Donetsk International Airport:

This is happening even though earlier in the day Russian foreign minister Lavrov explicitly said a resumption of hostilities is one of the conditions which would prevent a return to a formal dialog:

  • LAVROV: UKRAINE RESTARTING MILITARY OPS WOULD BE BIG MISTAKE
  • LAVROV: RUSSIA READY FOR TALKS W/ GOVT IN KIEV, POROSHENKO

At least the spoos like it.

Here are the live webcasts from Donetsk:


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

 


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream