The military response to remove pro-Russian separatists from government buildings in Slavyansk has prompted fears of retaliation from Russia.

From Russia Today:

The Ukrainian army has begun a special operation against pro-autonomy activists in the eastern town of Slavyansk. The city is now blockaded by the Ukrainian military, with 20 helicopters reportedly deployed to crack down on self-defense forces.

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Two more helicopters have been shot down by self-defense forces, according to reports. Earlier, two helicopters were reportedly shot down, with one pilot dead and another one captured, RIA Novosti news agency reported. This information was confirmed by Ukraine’s coup-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

During the last 24 hours Ukraine has reintroduced conscription of 18-25 year old men and has put all its armed forces on combat alert.

Pro-Russian separatists are exerting an increasing pressure in the east of Ukraine. 40,000 Russian troops are amassed on the Russian side of the border the countries share.

 ukraine helicopters

Moscow says it reserves the right to use “all means” to protect its citizens in eastern Ukraine

Russian foreign ministry warned late Thursday that any assaults by Ukraine troops in the region would have “tragic consequences”, a comment that increased fears of a Russian invasion.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is calling for Ukraine to withdraw its troops from the region and has reiterated that he has a right to do whatever he chooses to protect ethnic Russians in the area.

There has been no comment so far from western leaders.

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