Ahead of a peace summit, Ukrainian government forces launch a counter-offensive near Mariupol with President Poroshenko saying his government is prepared to introduce martial law if the crisis escalates. Mana Rabiee reports.
Automatic gunfire from a Ukrainian military truck. Government forces have launched a counter offensive near the southeastern port city of Mariupol. They claim to have gained territory from Russian-backed rebels, who want greater independence with what they're calling "people's republics" in the east of the country. The intense fighting comes as leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine meet for a peace summit in neighboring Belarus. They hope to secure an unconditional ceasefire after nine months of armed conflict. But with talks barely underway, the separatists launched some of the war's worst fighting, with an assault on a government garrison that left 19 government soldiers dead. Rebels are trying to encircle government forces in the town of Debalsteve -- it's a strategic location that would allow them to link up their main strongholds. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reportedly says his government is prepared to introduce martial law in all Ukrainian territories if the crisis continues to escalate...and the peace talks fail.