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Donetsk Airport Shooting

May 29, 2014 by  

Donetsk Airport Shooting, The main airport in Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk was rocked by an explosion and heavy shooting on Monday after armed rebels seized the facility, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Thick black smoke was seen rising from the airport complex as the sound of heavy machinegun fire rang out and fighter jets could be heard overhead.

Scores of armed separatists had earlier seized control of the modern airport, which was revamped for the 2012 European football championship, halting all flights out of the rebellion hit city.

The strategic transport hub had been evacuated and sealed off after gunmen claiming to be from the self-declared “Donetsk People’s Republic” showed up overnight demanding that Ukrainian troops guarding the airport perimeter be withdrawn.

The raid was launched in the hours after billionaire Petro Poroshenko claimed victory in a presidential election Sunday that the pro-Russian rebels have dismissed as illegitimate.

“At 3:00 in the morning, a group of armed men came. There was no shooting,” airport spokesman Dmytro Kosinov told AFP.

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