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Ukraine launches 'anti-terrorist' operation in eastern city, 70 arrested

Pro-Russian protesters sit inside the seized regional administrative building in Kharkiv April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
Pro-Russian protesters sit inside the seized regional administrative building in Kharkiv April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine has launched an "anti-terrorist" operation in the eastern city of Kharkiv and about 70 "separatists" have been arrested for seizing the regional administration building, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Tuesday.

On his Facebook page, Avakov said: "An anti-terrorist operation has been launched. The city center is blocked along with metro stations. Do not worry. Once we finish, we will open them again."

Ukraine's Interior Ministry was quoted as saying by Interfax-Ukraine news agency that those detained were suspected of "illegal activity related to separatism, the organization of mass disorder, damage to human health" and breaking other laws.

(reporting by Richard Balmforth, writing by Elizabeth Piper, editing by Timothy Heritage)

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