Ukrainian forces launched a “large-scale operation” to retake the eastern town of Slaviansk, pro-Russian separatists holding the town said on Friday, as security deteriorated in a crisis that has provoked the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
A Reuters photographer said he saw a military helicopter open fire on the outskirts of the town and a reporter heard gunfire. Separatists said they were under attack and that at least one helicopter had been shot down.
Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the self-declared mayor or the town, was quoted by Russia’s Interfax news agency as saying two helicopters had been shot down and one pilot had been detained. Another had been killed.