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Ukraine crisis : Gunmen seize two buildings in eastern town of Sloviansk

Donetsk, Ukraine, Apr 12 (): Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said on Saturday gunmen in camouflage have held a security services building and a police station in the eastern regions of Ukraine, near the Russian border.

Tensions rose in the regions after the gunmen seized the two buildings, which also prompted the government in Kiev to pledge a tough reaction. Police said the gunmen fired gunshots and used stun bombs to take hold of the offices in Sloviansk.

About 20 gunmen in disguise occupied the police station of Sloviansk, about 400 miles (650 kilometers) east of the capital, grabbing weapons and taking captives, the Interior Ministry said. Another police station near Krasny Liman was also detained, said the Interfax news service. The unidentified gunmen arrived at the building in the town of Slaviansk in the morning and took control of it without any casualties.

The gunmen were called “terrorists” by Arsen Avakov, the interior minister and he said on his Facebook Inc. account that Ukraine dispatched special forces to cope up with the situation.

After the attack, there was no Ukrainian flag flying above the police headquarters; it was replaced with a separatist flag, according to a witness.

Earlier on Saturday, the foreign minister of Ukraine urged Russia to end what he called “challenging actions” by its representatives in eastern Ukraine.

Russia occupied the south-eastern Crimea region of Ukraine last month, after a vote that condemned as unlawful by the international community and Kiev, and the West have the fear that Russia may next look to enter eastern Ukraine.

NATO and the United States estimate there are up to 40,000 Russian troops near the border. Russia asserts that they are in that place on military trainings and that it has no plans to invade.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Secretary General of NATO urged Russia on Friday to pull back its troops from the border area.