Updated at 14:13,24-01-2022

Lukashenka has phone conversation with Ukraine`s acting president


Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Ukraine`s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov had an "urgent" telephone conversation on Thursday amid the Ukrainian government`s security operation in the Donetsk province, according to the Belarusian leader`s press office.

Mr. Turchynov provided detailed information to Mr. Lukashenka about Kyiv`s efforts to drive pro-Russian militants out of occupied buildings.

In particular, Mr. Turchynov said that the situation in the city of Sloviansk, which he described as the militants` stronghold, caused particular concern and had prompted the security operation involving Ukraine`s military units. Five pro-Russian militants have already been killed after opening fire on Ukrainian troops, he said.

The press office did not say on whose initiative the conversation had taken place.

Hours after the operation was resumed on April 24, Russia`s defense minister announced new military exercises for troops massed near Ukraine`s border.

Mr. Turchynov said in an address to the nation on Thursday that Russia was "coordinating and openly supporting terrorist killers" in eastern Ukraine, where government buildings in at least 10 cities have been seized by pro-Russian gunmen.

He demanded that Russia pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border and "stop the constant threats and blackmail."

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned what he described as Ukraine`s "punitive operation" and threatened Kyiv with unspecified consequences.