KIEV Ukraine's security and defence council said on Thursday the border town of Novoazovsk and other parts of Ukraine's south-east had fallen under the control of Russian forces who together with rebels were staging a counter-offensive.
"A counter-offensive by Russian troops and separatist units is continuing in south-east Ukraine," the council said in a post on Twitter.
It said Ukrainian government forces had withdrawn from Novoazovsk "to save their lives" and were now reinforcing troops in the port city of Mariupol.
It added that Russian forces and separatists were combining to launch a counter-offensive on Ilovaysk and Shakhtarsk, east of the big city of Donetsk.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Richard Balmforth)