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Ukrainian armed forces launched a "special operation" against militiamen in the country's Russian speaking east, authorities said, recapturing a military airfield from pro-Moscow separatists in Kramatorsk on Tuesday.

Heavy gunfire was heard in the area but reports of casualties could not immediately be confirmed.

Above, Pro-Russia protesters rough up Ukrainian General, Genady Krutov, center right, in front of a Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk.

Pro-Russian protesters build a barricade in front of an air base entrance in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on April 15.ANASTASIA VLASOVA / EPA