Apr. 20 - At least two dead after gunfire erupted near a makeshift pro-Russian separatist checkpoint in eastern Ukraine. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION At least two people were killed in a gunfight early on Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, testing an already fragile international accord that is supposed to defuse Ukraine's armed stand-off. Separatist militiamen near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk told Reuters that a convoy of four vehicles had approached their checkpoint at around 2:00 a.m. (2200 GMT) and opened fire. A Reuters cameraman at the scene said he saw the bodies of two local fighters, one with what appeared to be gunshot wounds to the head and face. One of the dead was dressed in camouflage fatigues, the other in civilian clothes. In Kiev, the Interior Ministry said one person had been killed and three injured in an armed clash. It said police were trying to establish more details of what happened. Hours earlier, Ukraine's Western-backed government in Kiev had declared a truce to coincide with the Easter religious holiday, giving international mediators an opportunity to try to persuade armed pro-Russian groups to disarm. The crisis over Ukraine has dragged relations between Moscow and the West to their lowest ebb since the Cold War, and risks escalating this week with a U.S. threat of further sanctions against Moscow if the pro-Russian separatists do not pull back. A deal signed in Geneva last week by the European Union, Russia, Ukraine and the United States agreed that illegal armed groups would go home, but so far they have shown no signs of budging, leaving the accord looking threadbare. The deaths were the first in armed clashes in eastern Ukraine since the Geneva accord was signed on Thursday.