UPDATE: Ukrainian troops begin special operation in Slavyansk – reports
by The Daily Lede
The Ukrainian army has reportedly begun a special operation against pro-autonomy activists in the eastern town of Slavyansk early Friday morning, as air raid sirens went off and gunfire was heard.
Slovyank self-defense forces told RIA Novosti that the Ukrainian military has attacked several positions.
“The attack is targeting a few roadblocks at the same time. A few armored vehicles and airborne combat vehicles arrived and airborne troops descended from the helicopters and attacked the roadblocks. Some forces were dropped off around the train station, where we didn’t have anyone,” RIA Novosti quoted the press secretary of the Slavyansk self-defense units as saying.
Early Friday morning, a city siren – which is designed to warn local residents of a Ukrainian military attack – went off and shots were heard. A few minutes later, the siren stopped and everything calmed down, according to reports.
“For now everything is calm in the city center. There are no reports of injuries yet,” the spokesperson said.
Thick smoke was spotted on the outskirts of the city, where the roadblocks are located.
There are unconfirmed reports that a Ukrainian military helicopter has been shot down.