Ukraine claims victory in rebel stronghold

Members of the Donbass Battalion, a pro-Ukraine militia, stand in a field near a Ukrainian military checkpoint on May 21, 2014 in Dobropillya, Ukraine. Days before presidential elections are scheduled, questions remain whether the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are stable enough to administer the vote. (Brendan Hoffman, Getty Images)
Members of the Donbass Battalion, a pro-Ukraine militia, stand in a field near a Ukrainian military checkpoint on May 21, 2014 in Dobropillya, Ukraine. Days before presidential elections are scheduled, questions remain whether the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are stable enough to administer the vote. (Brendan Hoffman, Getty Images)
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Updated: 7/05 11:36 am

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president says government troops have taken the rebel stronghold of Slovyansk in east Ukraine. Rebel spokesmen say there are relocating to a nearby town.

Andrei Purgin of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic told The Associated Press that rebels were evacuating, but claimed the army's campaign had left the city "in ruins." A rebel commander who would only give his nom de guerre as Pinochet told the AP that rebels had relocated to the nearby town of Kramatorsk.

On Saturday, President Petro Poroshenko commanded the armed forces to "raise the government's flag" over the city of Slovyansk. He says the city was under government control after a night of fighting.

Poroshenko said Friday he was ready to conduct another round of talks between representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the rebels.

 

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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