Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said More than 30 pro-Russian rebels were killed and dozens wounded in Monday's military assault on the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, which also claimed the lives of four servicemen.
"Four of our fighters were killed and 20 were wounded. According to our estimates over 30 terrorists were killed and dozens were wounded," he said, employing the term Kiev uses for the pro-Russian insurgents in control of the flashpoint town.
He said that the rebel fighters included several from Russia and Chechnya as well as Crimea, annexed by Moscow in March.
The Ukrainian military on Monday stepped up its assault on the rebel-held town as part of an operation to seize back control of parts of the east gripped by a pro-Russian insurgency.
On Monday, authorities confirmed the military had suffered casualties of its own and a helicopter gunship was shot down.
Moscow on Monday warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine as the military steps up what Kiev calls an "anti-terrorism operation".
Separately on Tuesday, all flights in and out of Donetsk - a regional industrial hub of more than one million people - were suspended, according to airport authorities, who gave no reason for the action.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team