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Ukrainian Officer Reported Killed In Clash With Pro-Russian Gunmen In Eastern Crimea

Ukraine's interior minister said a gunfight broke out a a roadblock in Slaviansk.

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Updated: April 13, 10.45 a.m. GMT: A member of the Ukrainian security forces has been killed and five others have been wounded in clashes in Slaviansk, according to Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov.

Anatoliy Stepanov/AFP

Avakov said there had been an "unidentifiable number" of pro-Russian casualties.

The BBC reports that the separatists opened fire on special forces as they were approaching a roadblock.

Avakov also accused pro-Russian gunmen of using civilians as cover. He said the Ukrainian forces are regrouping and will continue their operation.

Pro-Russian forces have now also taken control of the town council building in Mariupol, according to a Ukrainian news website.

The violence began after Ukrainian authorities launched an “anti-terrorist” campaign against pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Crimea this morning.

GENYA SAVILOV/AFP / Getty Images

Earlier, Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that men who had seized a police station in the small town of Slavyansk had opened fire on the approaching troops. However, a Reuters journalist at the scene said there was no evidence of that.

This video shows pro-Russian civilians forming a human shield around the building in Slavyansk.

View this video on YouTube

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City buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk were stormed last weekend by pro-Russians.

GENYA SAVILOV/AFP / Getty Images

Pro-Russian activists warm themselves outside the secret service building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on April 12, 2014.

Civilians in the area have been urged to stay indoors as clashes threaten to break out.

Ukrainian special forces passing suburb of Slovyansk #Ukraine

Vlad Tseluyko@tselyuko

Ukrainian special forces passing suburb of Slovyansk #Ukraine

08:52 AM - 13 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Second checkpoint into Slavyansk from Donetsk: tires completely blocking the road. Ladies filling Molotov cocktails. "We're ready to fight."

Gabriel Gatehouse@ggatehouse

Second checkpoint into Slavyansk from Donetsk: tires completely blocking the road. Ladies filling Molotov cocktails. "We're ready to fight."

10:30 AM - 13 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Old folks blocking the main road into Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine. Truck just pulled up with tires for barricades

max seddon@maxseddon

Old folks blocking the main road into Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine. Truck just pulled up with tires for barricades

09:34 AM - 13 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

On Palm Sunday, old ladies outside Slavyansk are praying for no bloodshed. Say no Russian troops in town.

max seddon@maxseddon

On Palm Sunday, old ladies outside Slavyansk are praying for no bloodshed. Say no Russian troops in town.

10:08 AM - 13 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Vladimir Putin has denied stoking tensions, saying he has no plans to invade.

While the United States has pledged its "strong support" for Ukraine's new government and urged Russia to calm the situation down.

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

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