Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
By Gabriela Baczynska KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukrainian forces tightened their grip on the eastern town of Kramatorsk on Wednesday after securing control over an airfield from pro-Russian separatist militiamen, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to warn of the risk of civil war. The attempt by the Kiev government to reassert control slowly without bloodshed came on the eve of four-power talks in Geneva on Thursday at which the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers will meet for the first time in the presence of the United States and the European Union. Russia, which has refused to recognize Ukraine's pro-Western government since Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted by mass protests in February, sought to dramatize the instability in its neighbor ahead of the crucial meeting. Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone call late on Tuesday that Kiev had "embarked on an anti-constitutional course" by using the army against the rebels.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Nearly 300 people were still missing Wednesday several hours after a ferry carrying 459, most of them high school students, sank in cold waters off South Korea's southern coast, killing at least two and injuring seven, officials said.
South Korean officials said as many as 295 people were still unaccounted for after a ferry carrying 477 passengers and crew capsized off the south coast on Wednesday. As the government retracted an earlier announcement that 368 people had been rescued, the South Korean coastguard said it could only confirm 180 had been brought to safety. Some could be seen sliding down the steeply inclined side of the ferry and into the water, as rescuers, including the crew of what appeared to be a small fishing boat, struggled to pull them to safety. Of the 448 passengers on board the ferry which had been bound for the popular southern resort island of Jeju, 324 were students travelling with 14 teachers from a high school in Ansan, just south of Seoul.