SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian troops fought pitched gunbattles Monday with a pro-Russia militia occupying an eastern city, and the government sent an elite national guard unit to re-establish control over the southern port city of Odessa.
Associated Press reporters heard gunfire and multiple explosions Monday in and around Slovyansk, a city of 125,000 that has become the focus of the armed insurgency against the new interim government in Kiev.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his agency's website that pro-Russia forces numbering about 800 were deploying large-caliber weapons and mortars. His agency reported four officers killed and 30 wounded in the fighting.
A pro-Russia militia spokesman in Slovyansk said an unspecified number of people had been killed and wounded in the clashes, including a 20-year-old woman killed by a stray bullet.
Both sides indicated fighting was taking place at several sites around the city. An Associated Press crew saw at least four ambulances rushing injured people to a city hospital, and one militiaman was seen being carried in for medical treatment.