Shooting heard near Ukraine’s Slavyansk, residents prepare for storming

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The relative calm in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk has been broken by shots on the outskirts of the city, and residents are preparing for the storming by the Ukrainian army, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported on Saturday.

Federalization supporters, who are on duty on the roadblocks around Slavyansk, say they are waiting for the storming in the coming hours.

The attack is widely expected following the departure of the OSCE inspectors, who were freed by federalists earlier in the day. Saturday was rather calm in Slavyansk which seemed to return to peaceful life. Some shops opened in the city and people started queuing to stock up with food in preparation for the storming.

Moscow expresses concerns about reports on preparations by Ukrainian troops to storm Slavyansk

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier had a phone conversation on Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry has reported. Lavrov expressed concerns about the reports “on the preparation by the Ukrainian army with support from Right Sector to storm some cities in the southeastern regions of Ukraine, including the city of Slavyansk,” the report says.

The Russian minister “called to prevent the European officers’ departure of Slavyansk from being taken by the Kiev law enforcement officials and extremists as a signal to attack and repetition of the bloodshed they perpetrated in Odessa.”

“Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed appreciation to Russia for its assistance in the mission of Russian presidential envoy Vladimir Lukin to release the Western European officers in the city of Slavyansk,” the report says.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed that the violence should be stopped and that the agreements outlined in the Geneva statement of April 17 should be fulfilled, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a report, according to Interfax.

“The Russian minister reconfirmed that the chances for such dialogue still exist on condition of the cancellation of the criminal order to use the army against the people and curbing national radicals,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

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