Created: 04/13/2014 2:10 PM KAALtv.com
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) - It's the first report of a gunbattle in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian gunmen have seized a number of government buildings in recent days.
Officials say Ukrainian special forces exchanged gunfire with a pro-Russia militia today in the eastern city of Slovyansk, with at least one security officer killed and five others wounded.
An Associated Press reporter found an SUV with bullet holes on the side of the road, and a pool of blood on the passenger seat where the gunbattle was supposed to have taken place.
A lawmaker from the area who witnessed the attack says a car with four gunmen pulled up on the road in a wooded area and opened fire on Ukrainian soldiers who were standing beside their vehicles.
Unrest has spread to several cities in eastern Ukraine, including the major industrial city of Donetsk, which has a large Russian-speaking population.
Two rival rallies in another regional capital in eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv, turned violent. According to a Ukrainian news agency, a group of pro-Russian protesters followed several pro-Ukrainian activists, beating them with bats and sticks.
Ukraine's president Oleksandr Turchynov says the country is to launch a "large-scale anti-terrorist operation" to resist Russia's aggression.
Turchynov said in a live televised address from the parliament that authorities in Kiev will not allow the "repetition of the Crimean scenario."
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula last month after local residents voted overwhelming to secede from Ukraine and seek to join Russia in a hastily called referendum.
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