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Ukraine: 30 Rebels Killed in Assault in East

Ukraine's Interior Minister says 30 pro-Russian insurgents were killed during Monday's military assault to expunge anti-government forces in the eastern town of Slovyansk.

Arsen Avakov said Tuesday that four government troops also died and another 20 were injured during the gun battles. On Monday, VOA had confirmed at least 20 pro-Russian insurgents were killed.

Separately on Tuesday, authorities suspended flights in and out of eastern Ukraine's industrial hub of Donetsk. It is unclear why the flights were suspended or how long the suspensions were to remain in effect.

With violence on the rise in Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told the French News Agency he will offer himself as a mediator before the situation creates huge consequences beyond anybody's control.

Ukraine is facing its worst crisis in decades as citizens fight over whether to look toward Europe or improve ties with Russia. Pro-Russian separatists control about a dozen eastern Ukrainian towns and cities, demanding the right to vote on whether to split with Ukraine and join Russia.

A similar referendum in Crimea in March led to the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula and the current crisis.



Russia's Foreign Ministry is calling on Ukraine to withdraw its troops from the east and open talks on ways to resolve the political crisis.

Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accuses Russia of seeking to destroy Ukraine by engineering what he says is a "well-planned provocation" against the government.

Russia says the new Ukrainian government is controlled by anti-Russian nationalists and neo-Nazis. It says it has the right to protect Russian speakers.

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