Ukraine’s military has gained full control of Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport in Donetsk after armed pro-Russia separatists attempted to take over the airport on 26 May.
Separatist militants had entered and seized the airport, demanding the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces guarding the perimeter. The latest seizure came a day after Ukrainians voted in Petro Poroshenko as their new president.
The regions in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions had declared independence, in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula earlier this year.
Following the seizure of Donetsk Airport, President Petro Poroshenko said that he would tackle ‘terrorists’ in the east ‘within hours, not months’.
The military then launched air strike and an assault by heavily armed troops, while civilians and journalists were caught in the crossfire.
Ukraine was successful is pushing most of the militants outside the immediate perimeter of Donetsk Airport into a suburban area away from the railway station.
It has been reported that at least 30 pro-Russia separatists have been killed with the army suffering no casualties.
Interior minister Arsen Avakov said in a statement: "The airport is under our full control. The enemy suffered heavy losses. We have none."
The separatists’ efforts may have been aimed at preventing Poroshenko from travelling to the east after he said his first trip would be to visit the region.
Poroshenko claimed that he would open talks with Moscow as early as June, in a bid to end a pro-Russia insurgency in the east.
All flights were suspended and Donetsk Airport remained closed on 27 May.