5 militants killed in attack border guard base in Luhansk, Ukrainian official says
DONETSK, Ukraine (CNN) — Five militants were killed in the volatile eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk on Monday after they took part in a large coordinated assault Monday on a border guard base, an official at the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service told CNN.
The attacks began early Monday morning when least 100 militants tried to storm the border unit on the southern edge of the city, said Oleg Slobodyan, the spokesman for the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service.
The guards repulsed the first few attacks, but then the militants changed positions and began to shoot from inside nearby buildings where local people live, Slobodyan said, adding that the attackers weren't letting residents out of their homes.
He said border guards were refraining from returning fire because they didn't want to cause civilian casualties.
As of 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), an estimated 500 militants were still attacking the base, according to Slobodyan.
Five militants were killed and eight were wounded in the fighting, Slobodyan said. Eight border guards have also been wounded in the fighting, he said.
It wasn't immediately possible to independently confirm the casualty numbers.
Video from the scene shows at least one rocket landing on the edge of the compound.
The separatist unrest that has gripped Ukraine in recent weeks has been centered in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The Border Guard Service has informed the Ukrainian government's Anti-Terrorist Operation of the attack but has so far received no reinforcements or assistance, Slobodyan said.