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.
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.