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Battle for key Ukraine airport as future leader vows 'no Somalia'

Published on May 26, 2014 10:12 PM
 

DONETSK, Ukraine (AFP) - A fierce battle erupted on Monday for control of the main airport in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, just hours after future president Petro Poroshenko vowed he would not let the country become another Somalia.

Ukrainian fighter jets and combat helicopters struck at separatist gunmen who seized the airport in the main city of Donetsk, triggering heavy gunbattles.

It was the most forceful action by the Kiev government in its battle to crush a bloody pro-Moscow insurgency that has raged in the industrial east since early April, threatening to tear apart the former Soviet state.

Plumes of thick black smoke rose from the airport complex as the sound of explosions and heavy machinegun fire rang out, AFP correspondents at the scene said.

Black smoke billows from Donetsk international airport, seen behind a cemetery, during heavy gun battle between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian militants in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 26, 2014. A fierce battle erupted on Monday, May 26, 2014, for control of the main airport in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, just hours after future president Petro Poroshenko vowed he would not let the country become another Somalia. -- PHOTO: AFP
 
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