Ukraine Crisis

Ukrainian Troops Destroy Separatist Bases Near Kramatorsk, Slovyansk

The Ukrainian army claimed fresh military successes Thursday against separatists in the east, saying its troops destroyed two pro-Russian bases during overnight operations.

The renewed offensive came as diplomatic efforts appeared to flounder, with round-table peace talks in Kiev yielding no signs of progress after launching Wednesday without any separatist leaders.

Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told parliament that one base near the city of Kramatorsk and another outside Slovyansk had been "fully cleansed of terrorists," according to Interfax Ukraine and The Associated Press.

The country's defense ministry told the AP that there were no casualties in the push, and that the army took three insurgents captive, one of whom had an anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

Ukrainian authorities insisted that no civilians were caught in the fight, which comes just days after seven government troops were killed in what the army called an "ambush" by pro-Russian fighters in the area.

On Wednesday, the Western-backed Kiev government took part in round-table talks with regional authorities and discussed a deal that could see some power relinquished by the capital.

However the "road map," set out by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which is leading the talks, has been stalled because the government and the separatist leaders, who are asking to be annexed by Russia after a referendum on Sunday, have refused to sit down together.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

- Alexander Smith