Combat helicopters patrolling airspace over Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine

DONETSK, April 13, 11:16 UTC+4  ITAR-TASS.

A total of two combat helicopters are patrolling the airspace over the city of Slavyansk in the east-Ukrainian Donetsk region, an Itar-Tass reporter said in an eyewitness account from the place where, according to a notice posted on Facebook by Ukraine’s acting interim Interior Minister Arsel Avakov, an anti-riot operation had begun to suppress the protests, the participants in which demanded federalization of the country.

Once in every five minutes, a helicopter would appear in the sky over. Block posts had been put up on the streets.

In the meantime, an action of protest continued near the building of the city police department that was seized by the protesters the other day. Barricades had been put up there and people several armed people in fatigues were guarding them.

Another 50 or so men wearing the St George’s ribbons attached to the lapels of their coats came to the place to organize a picket. They chanted ‘Russia! Russia!’ at regular periods of time.

Policemen were not seen on the streets. Instead, a car equipped with a public address system was cruising the city and launching public appeals to the city’s population.

“Arise, don’t be cowards, they’re preparing an attack on us!” a voice coming out of the amplifier said.

Cell phones were fully operational in the downtown areas.

On the whole, the situation remained quiet but knotty at the time of reporting and there were no clear signs that an operation prepared by the organized Ministry Forces might be coming up.

People were moving freely around the city and shopping but a number of shops were closed.


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