A Ukrainian military spokesman says government forces have retaken the Donetsk airport from rebels with a successful ''mass operation''. Nathan Frandino reports.
Ukrainian military forces are on the move in Donetsk. Racing through the countryside in Ukraine's brutal winter, the forces launch a military operation to retake the Donetsk airport. The military had lost territory around the airport to rebels in recent weeks. A military spokesman says the operation returns the battle lines to the previous status quo agreed to under a peace deal reached in September. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN MILITARY SPOKESMAN ANDRIY LYSENKO, SAYING: "The decision was taken for a mass operation, which was successful. As you saw the information yesterday, we succeeded in almost completely cleaning the territory of the airport, which belongs to Ukrainian forces as marked by military separation lines." As the operation continues, the death toll climbs. The military spokesman says four men were killed and 32 were wounded. He blames the separatists, accusing them of using heavy artillery. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN MILITARY SPOKESMAN ANDRIY LYSENKO, SAYING: "The terrorists' attacks on Donetsk airport continue, which include the use of heavy artillery. In particular, yesterday, bandit groups were shooting multiple-launch rocket systems right from residential areas." The recent escalation has prompted concerns from Russian President Vladimir Putin. His spokesman says the violence is not conducive to resolving the conflict, which has killed more than 4,800 people.