Ukraine routs separatists from eastern stronghold

The Ukrainian government is claiming victory over pro-Russian rebels in a separatist stronghold, according to reports.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his troops on Saturday forced the separatists to flee Slovyansk, a city of roughly 100,000 in the eastern part of the country, the Washington Post reported.

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“This is a genuine disarmament, presaged by the announcement of my plan for peaceful settlement of the situation in the east,” Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page, according to the Post.

The news marks a rare triumph for Poroshenko's forces as they try to quell the uprising by pro-Russian separatists that's only intensified since a temporary ceasefire expired this week.

The sides have been fighting since April, when the rebels took Slovyansk and other territory across the eastern part of the country.

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTrump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move A US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Russia's response to nuclear disaster: lie, cover up — and put the world at risk MORE has condemned the violence and urged the sides to reach a peaceful agreement. Some Ukrainian officials, however, have accused Russia of aiding the rebels with weapons and other supplies across Ukraine's eastern border.

On Friday, Poroshenko said he'd proposed that peace talks between his government and the rebels resume on Saturday, with no response from the separatists, the Wall Street Journal reported.

It's unclear if the recapture of Slovyansk has affected those potential talks.