Ukraine on Monday launched air strikes and deployed paratroops against pro-Russia militants who had seized Donetsk international airport as Moscow said it was willing to hold talks with Ukraine’s expected president-elect.
A Ukrainian military spokesman said that Sukhoi jets had conducted strafing runs and fired warning shots around Sergei Prokofiev International Airport after a deadline had passed for the rebels to lay down their arms, Reuters reported.
The militants “in reply opened fire at random from all types of weapons”, the spokesman said. A MiG jet also took part in the operation as paratroops were dropped by helicopter.
The gunmen from the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic seized the airport, whose terminal was built for the 2012 European football championship, on Sunday night, hours after voting ended in an election that appeared set to see billionaire Petro Poroshenko, nicknamed the “Chocolate King”, become the president.