By Richard Balmforth and Pavel Polityuk KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's military said on Monday its forces were battling a Russian tank battalion for control of a vital airport in the east of the country as President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of "direct and open aggression" against his country. Ukrainian coastguards meanwhile searched for two seamen missing after one of their patrol boats was sunk in the Sea of Azov by artillery fire from pro-Russian separatists on the shore. Several hundred Ukrainian forces are bogged down near Ilovaysk, east of the region's main city of Donetsk, and have been trying to break out of encirclement by Russian-backed separatists for several days. Poroshenko, speaking at a military academy in Kiev, said Russia's direct involvement in the war against the separatists in eastern Ukraine had tipped the balance on the battlefield and was the main reason for recent reversals.
By Marafaele Mohloboli MASERU (Reuters) - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma was due to meet Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on Monday to try to resolve a political crisis in the small mountain kingdom after an apparent coup there over the weekend, a government spokesman said. Thabane fled Lesotho for South Africa early on Saturday, hours before the army surrounded his residence and overran police stations in the capital Maseru, in what the prime minister called a coup by the military. The unrest stems from a power struggle between Thabane, who is supported by the police, and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, who has the loyalty of the army, diplomats said. Police stations were deserted and some officers had fled over the border into South Africa.