- 6 updates
Ukraine's military have retaken control of several towns and cities in eastern Ukraine.
Earlier today the separatist town of Slaviansk was taken by soldiers, and pro-Russian rebels were forced to flee, though they said it was a "tactical retreat."
Lewis Vaughen-Jones reports.
Ukraine's military has recaptured the separatist town of Slaviansk from pro-Russian rebel factions.
Pro-Russian separtsist said there were forced to leave their positions after the assault by government forces, Interfax news agency said. Separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai was quoted as saying:
"Given the disproportionate numerical superiority of the enemy troops, units of the armed forces of the Donetsk People's Republic were forced to leave their previous positions on the northern sector of the front and go to pre-prepared positions."
Pro-Russian separatists have been pulling out of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian troops were operating in the town, the country's National Security and Defence Council spokesman told a news conference.
"Last night rebels who got under intense mortar fire from the Ukrainian troops, tried to escape from surrounded Slaviansk. As the result, one tank, two armoured vehicles and two armoured personnel carriers belonging to terrorists have been destroyed," spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.
Ukrainian forces have raised the national flag over the city hall in Slavyansk after pro-Russian rebels and their top commander fled the separatist stronghold, AFP reports.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has given the Ukrainian army the order to raise the Ukrainian flag in the rebel stronghold of Slavyansk after government forces moved into the town, according to the presidential website.
Most pro-Russian rebels and their top commander have fled their eastern stronghold of Slavyansk in Kiev's biggest success of the three month campaign, AFP reports citing Ukraine's interior minister.
Arsen Avakov said: "This morning, intelligence reported that Girkin (Igor Strelkov) and a substantial part of the rebels had fled Slavyansk".
Insurgents seized the city of nearly 120,000 people on April 6.