The ministry says the militia was holding the fort at Novoazovsk
(a town 40 kilometers from Mariupol, controlled by the DPR) and they were not delivering any shelling there.
Mariupol became a major focus of concern for Ukraine after the rebels broke away from their main strongholds further north in late August -- backed, Kiev says, by Russian regular forces -- and took the nearby coastal town of Novoazovsk
29 took Novoazovsk
on the Azov Sea and the road linking Russia to Crimea, after six-day shelling, far from most battles with Kiev troops.
However, Putin called on separatists in Ukraine to allow Ukrainian troops out of the rebel-held town of Novoazovsk
, easing some tensions.
, Ukraine -- Backed by Russian troops and weaponry, hundreds of Ukrainian rebel militiamen mobilized on Friday in this southeastern town, vacated by the Ukrainian military two days ago, and began to push toward the strategic seaport of Mariupol 27 miles away.
"They are among us brothers who are fighting for their freedom." Ukrainian officials said Russian forces had seized the coastal town of Novoazovsk
and several villages near the border this week.
The Russian troops took over the border town of Novoazovsk
He said he wanted to "send a message to Washington: Stop interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states." The southeastern town of Novoazovsk
, which has come under shelling for three days, appeared to be firmly in the control of separatists, creating a new, third front in the war and raising fears they want to create a land link between Russia and the Crimea Peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in March.
, Ukraine, Dhu-AlQa'dah 02, 1435, August 28, 2014, SPA -- Ukraine's president called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict, AP reported.
His statement came as pro-Russia rebels took the coast town of Novoazovsk
and threatened the strategic port city of Mariupol, in the region's south, according to the media reports.
The town of Novoazovsk
lies in a strategically significant location - on the Azov Sea and on the road linking Russia to the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Three days later, the DPR claimed they had moved tanks into Novoazovsk
on the Sea of Azov.