‘Dead, wounded’ on both sides in Ukraine police raid

An armed man stands next to a barricade in front of the police headquarters in Slavyansk April 13, 2014.

An armed man stands next to a barricade in front of the police headquarters in Slavyansk April 13, 2014.

Both sides have suffered casualties during a raid by Ukrainian special forces on a police station in the eastern city of Slavyansk that was seized by pro-Russian gunmen, Agence France-Presse reported Ukraine’s interior minister as saying.

“There are dead and wounded on both sides,” minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.

“On our side – an ABU (Ukrainian Security Service) officer… On [the] side of the separatists — an unidentified number… The separatists have started to protect themselves using human shields.”

The raid followed the announcement by Avakov of an “anti-terrorist operation” in Slavyansk to end pro-Russia separatists’ control over police and security services buildings.

“An anti-terrorist operation has begun in Slavyansk. It is being directed by the anti-terrorist center of the state security service,” the minister wrote on his Facebook page.

“Units from all of the country’s force structures are participating. May God be with us,” he added.

On Saturday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all sides in the Ukraine crisis to “exercise maximum restraint” and engage in dialogue to de-escalate the situation there, AFP reported.

Ban’s appeal came as Ukraine accused Moscow of “aggression” after Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen seized two security buildings in its restive eastern rust belt amid spreading protests demanding the Russified region join Kremlin rule.

Ban is “deeply concerned” about the deteriorating situation and “growing potential for violent clashes,” a U.N. statement said.

The secretary general “appeals to all sides to work towards calming the situation, adhere to the rule of law and exercise maximum restraint,” the statement added.

He also “calls again for urgent and constructive dialogue to de-escalate the situation and address all differences.”

Al Arabiya News

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