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In pictures: Ukraine launches 'special operation' to retake occupied areas

Ukrainian airborne troops landed in a town in the east of the country on Tuesday after the defence ministry announced it was launching a special operation there against pro-Russian separatists

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Ukrainian soldiers are seen near a MI-8 military helicopter and armored personnel carrier at a checkpoint near the town of Izium in Eastern Ukraine, April 15, 2014. Russia declared Ukraine on the brink of civil war on Tuesday as Kiev said an "anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Moscow separatists was under way, with troops and armoured personnel carriers seen near a flashpoint eastern town.

Dmitry Madorsky/REUTERS

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Members of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry walk past armored personnel carriers at a checkpoint near the town of Izium, eastern Ukraine, April 15, 2014.

Dmitry Madorsky/REUTERS

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Ukranian troops stand guard at a checkpoint near the city of Izium in the Kharkiv region of east Ukraine April 15, 2014.

Maks Levin/REUTERS

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Ukranian troops stand guard at a checkpoint near the city of Izium in the Kharkiv region of east Ukraine April 15, 2014.

Maks Levin/REUTERS

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A Ukrainian soldier stands guard at a checkpoint near the city of Barvenkovo in the Kharkiv region of east Ukraine April 15, 2014.

Maks Levin/REUTERS

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A pro-Russia protester shouts slogans at a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine April 15, 2014.

MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

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A Ukrainian soldier holds a hand grenade as Ukrainian army troops receive ammunition in a field on the outskirts of Izyum, Eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. An Associated Press reporter saw at least 14 armored personnel carriers with Ukrainian flags, one helicopter and military trucks parked 40 kilometers north of the city on Tuesday.

Sergei Grits/AP

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A masked pro-Russian activist guards a barricade at the regional administration building that they had seized earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Several government buildings have fallen to mobs of pro-Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

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A woman holds an icon at a barricade at the regional administration building that they had seized earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Several government buildings have fallen to mobs of Moscow loyalists in recent days as unrest spreads across the east of the country.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

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Pro-Russia protesters build a barricade in front of an Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 15, 2014.

MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

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Pro-Russia protesters hold their hands up in the air in front of an Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 15, 2014.

MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

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A helicopter prepares to set down at a field where Ukrainian soldiers were mustering near Izium, some 40 kilometers north of Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 15, 2014. Ukrainian troops moved on Tuesday to take control of at least one airport near Slovyansk, a town still under control of pro-Russian militants who had set up checkpoints and were prohibiting civilian vehicles from leaving.

MAURICIO LIMA/NYT

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A Russian flag flutters on a barricade in front of a Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 15, 2014.

MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

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Ukrainian helicopters take off after delivering troops to an airbase in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 15, 2014. Ukrainian armed forces on Tuesday launched a "special operation" against militiamen in the country's Russian speaking east, authorities said, recapturing a military airfield from pro-Moscow separatists.

MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

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Ukrainian General Genady Krutov talks to journalists in front of a Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 15, 2014. Ukrainian armed forces on Tuesday launched a "special operation" against militiamen in the country's Russian speaking east, authorities said, recapturing a military airfield from pro-Moscow separatists.

MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

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Ukrainian General Genady Krutov argues with pro-Russian protesters in front of an Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 15, 2014.

MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

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Pro-Russia protesters rough up Ukrainian General Genady Krutov in front of a Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 15, 2014.

MARKO DJURICA/REUTERS

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