Four die in Ukraine’s Slavyansk clashes

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Four people have been killed in a gun battle near Ukraine’s eastern city of Slavyansk.

Reports said on Sunday that the fatalities came after a night attack by unknown gunmen on a checkpoint set up by protesters on the outskirts of the city.

The report added that the armed group approached the checkpoint in four cars and opened fire on the checkpoint, killing three people and seriously injuring another one.

According to reports, a group of protesters, called from their camp in the city, opened fire at the attackers, killing one of them.

On April 18, local news website, Kramatorsk.info, reported that Ukrainian paratroopers attacked checkpoints in Serheyevka village in Slavyanskaya district of Donetsk region.

Protesters have taken control of government buildings in more than ten cities in the eastern parts of Ukraine over the past few weeks.

An international deal signed in the Swiss city of Geneva among Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union last week called for withdrawal of protesters from state buildings and squares they occupy. The deal also stated that all groups must disarm.

Protesters, however, have so far refused to recognize the accord, with their leaders renewing calls for a local referendum on independence.

Protests gained momentum in the eastern parts of Ukraine after Crimea declared independence from the former Soviet state and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, in which almost 97 percent of the participants voted for joining Russia.

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