Ukrainian Army Takes Back Airport From Russian Separatists

The all-day raid that killed 43 people inches the country closer to civil war.
11:06 | 05/27/14

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Transcript for Ukrainian Army Takes Back Airport From Russian Separatists
You can. Airstrikes and non stop gunfire the Ukrainian army attacking pro Russian militants. Taking back control of an airport in eastern Ukraine the country edging closer to civil war two days after a presidential. Right now the international hot spots on yes Ukraine hello -- The new York at least 43 people. Are dead after a daylong raid at the airport and don't yet the city -- symbol of the pro Russia movement in Ukraine recently voted for autonomy. But -- now re launching its quote anti terrorism operation to take back the region. The majority of the dead are pro Russian militants that there were civilian -- -- casualties as well some reports say sporadic gunfire. Can still be heard around the city and now reports that the election overseers in the area have gone missing. The BBC's McClellan -- -- don't -- The skulls of battles yesterday's fighting it done yet -- force left its mark here. Much of what's on the ground is too graphic to show -- parts scattered among the states reached a scene this city never thought it would witness. -- once again in the last few minutes gunfire has just broken out in the direction of the terminal building -- north of the intensity that it was yesterday -- this could will be. The cleanup operation by Ukrainian forces -- flush out the lost elements of rebel control from -- Appleton. Quiet moments -- -- by the crack of machine guns Ukraine's government says its forces have now we taken the airport. But that's a heavy cost. Yesterday's assault was intense Ukrainian jets pounding rebels who tried to seize the building. They struck back the claim at least thirteen dead and a huge show of strength like he had those whose stories spoke of the horror. Its -- its natural thing you'll go up. In my talent it's approve. I suppressed and -- -- its its move will meet its saloon. No won't know what to say who -- field. I feel -- -- to myself -- -- It's terrible. Russia is the third force -- the separatists looking east for health. Moscow says it will work with the new Ukrainian president but its foreign minister -- for restraint. So that should move to reduce the number one -- for the cable authorities and the pastor -- -- Given the results of the elections -- is to bring an immediate end to -- -- all of the army against the public. And then answers to any violence spiral sites with the -- the battle -- a few -- attempts to restore normality. And independence rebellion here has become something font -- Kiev says its anti terror operation must quicken. That is and -- destroying Nia. Mark -- in BBC news finance -- And we are joined now by ABC's -- Mark Clark from Ukraine's capital and he had Alex the -- -- and done yet still going on the city on edge. But has -- have said how long they will carry out this operation. It's a good morning Michelle one of the first deputy prime ministers of Ukraine is fairly senior officials. Assassinated it would continue this anti terror operation. Until the last terrorists as they call them has left the territory. Of Ukraine. This operation as a whole has been going on. Four about a month and a half now starting in the middle of April. But it's clear from yesterday's attacked by the -- -- -- military that included those fighter Jackson and helicopter gunships. That they are planning on stepping up this operation there does seem to be more of an immediacy around it following Sunday's presidential election. The Victor of that election. As a man named -- petrol por cinco. And in his victory speech she vowed to end the violence in the east and and he said that this anti terrorist operation would take hours. Not months so we are expecting some sort of escalation in that operation we could be on the brink -- -- real crackdown by the Ukrainian military. And Alex reports that election observers have got now gone missing what can you tell us about that. These -- observers from the OISC. -- of the organization for security cooperation. In Europe these monitors terrorist essentially the eyes and ears of of various countries including the United States the European Union and to some extent -- -- -- -- -- they're also working with them. Did this was a four -- team that -- was based out of this city of -- yes they were going about their regular business yesterday. When the VO -- body lost contact with them around 6 PM. We don't know where they are we don't know. Who's holding them and their four man -- of four different nationalities. This comes after another OSC team. Comprised of seven people had been held for more than a week. In the rebel held town of -- -- they were called prisoners of war there eventually released. But this is very worrying developments we don't expect to hear that much more video CEO in and so Alessio rather and so they've reestablished contact and and hopefully -- monitors will be released -- it is a troubling situation. Can you give us an idea what prompted the Ukraine government to act now and why didn't that show this force before the elections. Well this has been going on for about six weeks in in various fits and starts. -- -- they launched it. On April 13 and -- right away went one about taking back. An air sealed but since then they suffered several setbacks. And I think we're really prompted this this resurgence. On this stepped up operation is. Is the presidential election that -- on -- and on Sunday. It was clear that whoever was going to win that election. Their first priority was gonna -- to -- the violence and the chaos. And so now that there is a new president elect although he has not he has not been inaugurated yet. The the -- has not been confirmed but there is more. Immediacy surrounding this operation there is a sense certainly here in the west here in the -- Capital Kiev that Ukraine must reunite and they must end this chaos and so I think Ukrainian government is is saying enough is enough we need to -- These this insurgency we need to take back WB's part this part these parts of Ukraine that -- into the hands of rogue elements. And give us an idea in the days after the election of course didn't ask recently declared autonomy from Ukraine as anybody recognize the republic -- -- -- No -- it in fact there's there's no clear picture exactly what the republic of of -- gets really is. It's based in in an eleven story building in Don yes the capitals of Donetsk province. But as the days go on. This rebels forced this pro Russian separatist movement as it is growing increasingly fractured -- -- for example that Thomas -- beyond that we're just talking about his health. By -- by another rebel group -- loosely affiliated with -- the people's republic of -- yes. As they're calling it but. There certainly isn't a cohesive rebel movement there's another one going on in the neighboring province. -- guns shortly after the referendum. In which the in this republic so to speak declared independence they asked not only to be recognized by Moscow but to join Russia. Russia has as rejected that appeal and not even Russia has as recognized -- ask is it as an independent states. Although -- do consider themselves to be. Independence from Ukraine when the presidential election happened. On Sunday. Rebel fighters made it very difficult for the vast majority of the residents of -- yes. To vote only only a small minority of some of polling stations a -- open and then they said in fact that the voting is taking place in a neighboring countries so. They're pretty much the only ones who consider themselves separate entity from Ukraine and so Alex where does Russia stand now in the broader picture. Well Russia has said quite promising only that they are willing to week of work -- -- Or -- Clinton president Vladimir Putin had said before the election that you would respected the wishes -- respect be the choices of the Ukrainian people. And he end and so now -- -- -- come out saying that he hopes to meet with. President Putin next month and it made it does look like you know both -- -- Moscow boxes and normalize relations. Again but at the same time. Russia has issued a stark warnings against the government and -- and it's not sit two. Increase this crackdown on the pro Russian separatists. They have warned foreign minister -- -- we saw -- and that BBC peace has warned that it would be a colossal mistake. And today -- Roth came out saying we firmly insist. That you create halt its military operation so. It's you -- does -- step up this military crackdown against the rebels. This could certainly derail any sort of efforts to get Ukrainian and and Russia relationship back on track. And one last question you've been there for quite awhile now you've been able to gauge sort of the tensions and how things have sort of -- -- And sort of step back where are we now what has changed in your view. Well there's certainly a hope here in Kiev that that that the chaos will lands that ukrainians will once again be able to unite and in fact in -- countrywide polls. I'm around 70%. Of slopes or rather in the 70% of people want to stay with Ukraine so. On the one hand there is some hope among the Ukrainian population. That the chaos will soon end. But -- the same time we're seeing extremely troubling signs -- that the fighting in the east will continue. Certainly the need to rebel -- have promised to continue fighting against. The Ukrainian military you how Russia saying Arab. Demanding really that -- And its crackdown so we are far from from out of the woods. And certainly Ukraine. Has taken a step in the right direction I spoke with former secretary of state Madeleine Albright yesterday she said. The BB. Election carried on on Sunday was a very promising step a good beginning. To getting Ukraine back on track and that Corsica. Is the type of man who can do that who might be able to -- all these various forces to come -- sit around -- table and -- and ends. That did this conflict this chaos. But -- the same time that's fighting in the east is continuing it will continue. Is not showing any signs of going anywhere. ABC's Alex -- -- in -- of Ukraine thank you for joining us. You can keep up with the story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- and starring this story for exclusive updates on the go. You've been watching international hot -- I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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