National Guard and police task force units launched a cleansing operation in Mariupol, Donetsk region, at 5 a.m. Friday to clear the central streets of terrorists and take control of all their key strongholds.
"An armoured vehicle was blown up, sniper positions were destroyed, and all the occupied buildings were freed. Two land mines were found and defused. During the operation four Ukrainian servicemen were wounded. At least five terrorists were killed. One of their leaders surrendered, the National Guard reported on its website. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov later confirmed the information, adding that 30 members of illegal armed groups had been detained in Mariupol and that a truck packed with weapons heading for Donetsk had been stopped at a roadblock. According to him, militants sustained heavy losses during the operation. He attributed the success of the operation in Mariupol to good skills and coordination of the Army troops and security forces as well as to the fact that not a single civilian supported or defended the terrorists. "Flags of Ukraine are now over all administrative buildings. The city is returning to normal life," the Interior Minister said. President Petro Poroshenko instructed Donetsk governor Serhiy Taruta to temporarily move the Regional Administration office and staff from Donetsk to Mariupol. "Thanks to the heroic efforts of the military, the situation in Mariupol has stabilized. Therefore, I deem it appropriate to move the administration there," Poroshenko said. Meanwhile, the press service of the Donetsk regional administration reported on Friday that life in the city was returning to normal: "Public transport and enterprises are functioning, all kindergartens are open, and school summer camps are at work. Traffic police and patrols stay alert." The press service of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said earlier the Ukrainian troops tried to break into the city from a residential area at dawn and clashed with militia at a roadblock. There was heavy gun, mortar and grenade launcher fire. Reports on casualties on either side were not immediately available.