Ukraine checkpoint ambush leaves eight dead

Villagers fear for their lives after witnessing latest violence between pro and anti-Kiev fighters in east of country.

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    Karlivka, Ukraine -  Eight people have been killed in an attack by pro-Kiev fighters on a fortified checkpoint manned by pro-Moscow rebels in the east of Ukraine. 

    The attack, launched early on Friday in Karlivka, destroyed one building and left four members of the pro-Russian Vostok Battalion, three fighters from the pro-Ukraine Donbass Battalion, and one civilian dead.

    Bullet casings and blood trails were visible on the road when Al Jazeera reached the scene of the attack. Two of the dead Donbass Battalion fighters still lay where they fell, one in a car park near a cafe and another in an outbuilding. 

    "The attack began around 5:30 this morning," said Sergei, a villager who lives across the street from the checkpoint, which protected a small bridge over a reservoir. "They came in from the south along that small road," he said.

    "It's becoming too dangerous here now," said another villager, adding that he was considering an offer he had seen on television to move to Russia.

    "What is this? This checkpoint was peaceful. They didn't bother us. Why did they attack it?" said a villager looking at the aftermath. "This is madness. There can be no peace here. I will join the Vostok Battalion now."

    The skirmish in the village, 30km northwest of Donetsk, came a day after a surprise attack on a Ukrainian army checkpoint near the village of Volnovakha, to the south of Donetsk, that left an estimated 16 soldiers dead and an undetermined number of separatist fighters. 

    Many in the area fear more violence ahead of the presidential election scheduled for Sunday by the interim government in Kiev.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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