Ukrainian troops have launched air attacks to regain control of Donetsk airport from pro-Russia rebels.
Attack helicopters and jets fired on rebel positions in Monday\’s operation, while Ukrainian troops were also sent in for a ground offensive. Ukrainian troops blocked access to the site as huge plumes of smoke were seen coming from the area.
The operation came a day after Ukrainians voted in Petro Poroshenko as its new president, and hours after pro-Russian rebels stormed the airport, demanding Ukraine troops leave.
The airport serves a city of one million people, which the rebels have proclaimed capital of an independent "people\’s republic", and where they succeeded in blocking all voting in Sunday\’s election.
The attempt to seize the airport may have been intended to prevent Poroshenko from travelling there: he has said his first trip in office would be to visit the restive east.
Ukraine\’s election commission reported Poroshenko had earned about 54 percent of the vote in Sunday\’s election with ballots counted from more than half of the country\’s precincts.
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was in second place with 13 percent.
Poroshenko, a billionaire candy maker and former foreign minister, claimed victory Sunday without needing a runoff vote, and said he was ready to negotiate with Russian officials.
"I really hope that the current election, which was really free, really fair, the level of the activity of Ukrainian people and Ukrainian voters clearly demonstrate that Ukraine are decisive in building up their future. And I think that Russia is our neighbor, and without Russia it would be much less effective or almost impossible to speak about the security in the whole region or maybe about the global security," he said.
Ukraine has been dealing with a rebellion by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.