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3 May, 2014 05:59

Street battles in Kramatorsk, E.Ukraine after overnight assault killed 10 – self-defense

The Ukrainian military has occupied the city of Kramatorsk after an assault, local self-defense has said. Hospitals are “overcrowded with injured,” activists say, claiming that 10 people died in fighting overnight and two were “killed by snipers.”

Anti-government activist, Ilya Dolzhnitsky, told RT that only the central square remained under the control of the self-defense forces by Saturday afternoon, gathered in and around the city council building, the self-defense HQ member said.

Photo from Twitter/@GrahamWP_UK

At least two people were “shot dead by snipers” during the street battles in Kramatorsk on Saturday, the activist also told Rossiya-24. Ten people had been reportedly killed during the storming of the city overnight, according to self-defense.

“The hospitals are literally filled up, they are receiving a lot of injured, some of those injured are sent from Kramatorsk to Slavyansk,” Dolzhnitsky said, adding that the locals have been bringing medicines to checkpoints as all the drug stores in the city are closed.

В центре города пока все тихо-мирно. У исполкома pic.twitter.com/k7Ds0WVB92

— Федор Иваница (@FedIvanica) May 3, 2014

Security forces “shoot at everyone, including civilians,” the activist claimed. Self-defense think the military intends to cut them off to “start the operation in Slavyansk overnight,” according to Interfax.

Every road in and out of Kramatorsk blocked off pic.twitter.com/bmR2leDEux

— GrahamWPhillips (@GrahamWP_UK) May 3, 2014

Soon after the city's TV center came under control of the military, the broadcast of Ukrainian channels was restored.

Due to the ongoing operation, city markets, parks, and some supermarkets remain closed, while transport has ground to a halt.

Via Facebook, the coup-imposed Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov asked local residents to stay indoors.

Троллейбусы быстро горят #Краматорскpic.twitter.com/VxJXnbpw8J

— Федор Иваница (@FedIvanica) May 3, 2014

The Ukrainian troops' assault on Kramatorsk started Friday and continued overnight into Saturday, with the Ukrainian security forces moving forward despite resistance from self-defense squads.

Snipers who are controlled by the Kiev government occupied multi-storey buildings and have been firing from there, an unnamed source in the Donbass self-defense HQ told Interfax news agency. He added that the fighting was going on on the city streets, with different kinds of weapons used.

The source also claimed there were dead in the fighting, “most of them civilians who happened to be next to the location where the fighting is now on.”

Unconfirmed reports also claimed that armed units of the radical Right Sector group are committing atrocities in Kramatorsk. Right Sector leader, Dmitry Yarosh, has allegedly arrived to the city.

Uncertified but local tells me he heard #RightSector putting people on knees and shooting in back of head at #Kramatorsk

— PaulaSlier_RT (@PaulaSlier_RT) May 3, 2014

Rumours #yarosh in #Kramatorsk

— PaulaSlier_RT (@PaulaSlier_RT) May 3, 2014

Avakov earlier warned that the special military operation in Kramatorsk would resume on Saturday morning.

The active phase of the operation will continue at sunrise,” Avakov said on his Facebook page. “We are not going to stop.

The storming of Kramatorsk is part of a wider military operation in eastern Ukraine, which intensified on Friday morning when Ukrainian troops attacked the anti-government stronghold of Slavyansk. The city was surrounded by the military with dozens of APCs and 20 helicopters engaged in the operation.

The fighting reportedly resulted in three casualties. Two helicopter pilots have died, according to Ukrainian military officials, while self-defense forces in Slavyansk said that one of their members was killed.

Also on Friday, clashes in Odessa between supporters of the authorities in Kiev and anti-government protesters turned deadly and claimed the lives of 46 people. About 200 people were injured.

Much of the casualties were a result of a fire in the House of Trade Unions. Regional council member and Odessa mayoral candidate Alexey Albu, who was in the building but managed to escape, told RT that anti-government protesters barricaded themselves inside the House of Trade Unions, which was set ablaze by pro-Kiev radicals.