MARIUPOL , Ukraine, May 9 (UPI) -- Intense fighting in the seacoast city of Mariupol, Ukraine, interrupted a relatively peaceful holiday weekend Friday, leaving one Ukrainian soldier dead.
While most of the country was calm and celebrating a patriotic holiday, the southeastern city of Mariupol saw heavily armed security forces in armed personnel carriers taking back the police headquarters from about 60 pro-Russian separatists. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said one Ukrainian soldier was killed and five wounded in the fighting. Unconfirmed reports claimed 20 militants died and four were captured, with no report of injuries.
Fire consumed the police building, and bullet holes could be seen in its walls. Two nearby cars were also burned. A local resident said the shooting and explosions began in the morning, and lasted about two hours.
Prior to the fighting, Victory Day observances, commemorating the World War II triumph over Nazi Germany, were conducted with few incidents. Graveside ceremonies replaced the usual parades because of security concerns.