Splintered Ukrainian city braces for new battle with Russia

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russia separatists occupied the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk for months in 2014. Now, its people are preparing to defend the city again. Slovyansk could become the next major target in Moscow’s campaign to take Ukraine’s predominantly Russian-speaking Donbas region. The loyalties of residents are split in the city, with some antagonistic toward Kyiv or nostalgic for Ukraine’s Soviet past. But many fear what the Russians might do if they return to the city in Donetsk province. A 23-year-old accountant-turned-soldier says Ukrainian forces do not have the weapons to fight off the superior arsenal of the approaching army. “We know what’s coming,” he said recently as artillery explosions sounded a few kilometers away.