Ukraine troops take checkpoint north of Slaviansk

Ukrainian security force officers walk past a checkpoint set on fire and left by pro-Russian separatists near Slaviansk April 24, 2014.

KHRESTYSHCHE - Ukrainian troops with five light armoured vehicles took control of a checkpoint north of Slaviansk on Thursday after pro-Russian separatists appeared to abandon the position, Reuters journalists said from the scene.

When the armoured unit approached along a road from Sviatogorsk, which Ukraine's government said it recaptured on Wednesday, militants set up a smokescreen of burning tyres. Within half an hour, the Ukrainian force was in control of the position near the village of Khrestyshche. No shots were heard.