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Casualty toll climbs in Ukraine's southeast as bloody clashes continue

At least one man was killed and two more wounded in Ukraine's eastern city of Lugansk after soldiers opened fire on pro-federalization activists, Russia's Rossiya-24 television channel reported on early Sunday.

According to the television channel, crowds of pro-federalization activists gathered to block a military enlistment office and several military bases in three districts of the city in a protest following reports that additional military forces had arrived in Lugansk from other regions of Ukraine.

"Soldiers decided that protesters intended to attack the military enlistment office and opened fire on them," Rossiya-24 reported.

However, local on-line daily Vostochny Variant reported that protesters seized the military enlistment office in Luhansk and all military servicemen were forced to leave the building.

In a separate development of events, tanks and military armored vehicles "were shooting at peaceful people" after the military hardware entered the eastern city of Konstantinovka in the Donetsk Region, according an activist from the local self-defense forces.

Moreover, he said that "paratroopers descended from helicopters near a television tower and immediately opened fire."

"There are casualties, there are wounded, but the figures are unknown," he was quoted by Rossiya-24 as saying.

According to eyewitness reports, combat tanks also entered Kramatorsk, another city in the Donetsk Region. Reports on combat clashes also come from the region's town of Druzhkovka and the villages of Ivanovka and Pchyolkino. According to various reports, between six and 10 people were killed.

Late on Saturday night military also launched an attack on the municipal authorities building in the city of Mariupol, also located in the Donetsk Region.

On Friday, Ukraine witnessed the bloodiest violence since the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich in February with dozens of lives claimed in armed clashes.

The highest death toll took place in the southern city of Odessa. A total of 46 people were killed and over 200 wounded after radicals attacked pro-federalization activists and then set on fire Odessa's Trade Union House with activists inside, burning them alive.

Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities, who were propelled to power in Kiev amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February, erupted in Ukraine's Russian-speaking southeastern regions in March after Crimea's incorporation by Russia. Demonstrators, who are demanding referendums on the country's federalization, seized some government buildings.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 04May14]

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