IZYUM, Ukraine - Ukrainian military forces were massing on the outskirts of Slovyansk Wednesday, fortifying positions as fears grew that violent clashes with pro-Russian separatists could escalate.
At the town of Izyum, about 30 miles northwest of Slovyansk, at least four helicopters had landed in a field alongside 17 other military units and special forces personnel.
Sergei Grits / AP
Ukrainian Army troops receive munitions at a field on the outskirts of Izyum, Eastern Ukraine, on April 15, 2014.
The buildup of forces blocked the main road between Donetsk and Kharkiv, and there were reports of a shooting in nearby town of Kramatorsk.
Despite fears of a possible imminent assault by Ukrainian troops, the Slovyansk appeared calm, the Associated Press reported.
Pro-Russian insurgents dug in Tuesday across eastern Ukraine, fortifying positions around seized buildings and erecting new barricades.
It came as the United Nations warned that misinformation, propaganda and incitement to hatred are causing tensions in eastern Ukraine that could lead to the region breaking away like Crimea.
First published April 15 2014, 7:28 AM
Albina Kovalyova is a Moscow producer and reporter for NBC News. She started this role in June 2013. Kovalyova is responsible for covering Russia and the former Soviet Bloc. She reports to Chris Hampson, international news director.
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Kovalyova joined NBC News after working as a freelance television documentary producer/director for BBC World News where she made films about Russia and the former Soviet Bloc -- including Ukraine and Belarus. Her documentary about the Belarus Free Theatre was showcased at the One World Documentary Film Festival in Prague and was screened in various venues around the world, including the Russian division of the prestigious Frontline Club. Her documentary about Russia's gas heartland, Yamal, took part in an Arctic Documentary Film Festival in St. Petersburg in 2012.
Kovalyova also worked as a television producer for Reuters Television in Moscow where she covered the latest parliamentary and presidential elections, and opposition demonstrations during this time. She has interviewed Alexei Navalny and various other opposition figures. She also worked together with photographer Denis Sinyakov to produce a three-part television series looking at the lives of migrant workers from Central Asia in Russia. In 2012, she received exclusive access to Russia's submarine shipyard in Severodvinsk and co-wrote a feature on Russia's Arctic ambitions with Alissa De Carbonnel.
Kovalyova has also worked at on various BBC television and radio projects, at the Voice of America Moscow Bureau where she reported on the rise of Russian nationalism, and from the Moscow court during the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. She has also worked at Sky News as a deputy news editor and as a radio presenter at the Voice of Russia. Prior to that Albina was a writer for the analytical journal Russia Profile.