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Ukrainian unrest spreads; dozens dead in Odessa

 

Ukrainian police guard the burnt trade union building where more than 30 people died trying to escape during clashes in Odessa, Ukraine, on Friday.

Ukrainian police guard the burnt trade union building where more than 30 people died trying to escape during clashes in Odessa, Ukraine, on Friday. Photo by: AP Photo/Sergei Poliakov

 

The Associated Press

 

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine -- Ukraine launched an offensive against separatist forces for control of a besieged eastern city Friday, while clashes between pro- and anti-government activists in the previously calm southern port of Odessa led to a fire that police said killed 31 people. 

 

The first serious offensive by the government in Kiev and the dozens of deaths in Odessa sharply escalated the crisis that has led to the worst tensions between Russia and the West since the Cold war. The Kremlin said the battle for the separatist-held city of Slovyansk effectively destroyed the Geneva pact aimed at cooling the unrest in the deeply divided country. 

 

Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine's acting president, said many insurgents were killed or wounded in the eastern offensive that also underlined the military's vulnerability. The military action came two days after Kiev said it had lost control of eastern Ukraine.

 

 

 

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