News / Europe

Ukraine Military: 18 Soldiers Killed in Fighting Near Donetsk

Armed pro-Russian separatists inspect wreckage near a damaged building following what locals say was a recent airstrike by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk, Aug. 6, 2014.
Armed pro-Russian separatists inspect wreckage near a damaged building following what locals say was a recent airstrike by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk, Aug. 6, 2014.
VOA News

Eighteen Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 54 injured in fresh fighting overnight against separatist rebels in Eastern Ukraine, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

Spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said government forces had clashed with separatists 25 times in parts of eastern Ukraine near the Russian border in the 24 hours up to Wednesday morning as they continued to squeeze rebel positions.

Ukrainian forces, Lysenko said, had again been shelled from inside Russian territory while Ukrainian frontier guards near the border town of Luhansk had come under a four-hour mortar and artillery attack.

“In the past 24 hours 18 service personnel have been killed in battle and 54 have been wounded,” he told journalists, saying casualties had been sustained in several different incidents in the east.

Airstrikes near Donetsk

Meanwhile, residents in Donetsk, east Ukraine's main industrial hub and now the main redoubt of the rebels, said Ukrainian warplanes had carried out airstrikes overnight.

The airstrike hit the Kalininsky neighborhood only 5 kilometers (3 miles) east of Donetsk's central square. It was the first airstrike to hit close to the center of Donetsk since Ukrainian forces heavily bombarded the airport in May in their bid to halt the insurgency in the industrial east of the country.

Lysenko, questioned over the reports, denied that Ukrainian planes had carried out airstrikes on the town of nearly 1 million and said the only Ukrainian plane near the town had been an aircraft providing communications support for troops on the ground.

Previously, Kyiv has accused the rebels of firing at civilian areas. But the government has offered little evidence to prove their claims, which Human Rights Watch and others have questioned.

“The Ukrainian military does not bomb the towns of Donetsk and Luhansk or any other similar populated places,” he said.

The rebels said the strike occurred at 12:40am (2140 GMT).

But the strike came as Kyiv signaled a harder push to retake the disputed area.

On Wednesday, the spokesman for the Ukrainian operation in the east, Oleksiy Dmitrashkivsky, told the French news agency AFP: "The noose is tightening around Donetsk, Lugansk and Gorlivka," the main rebel strongholds.

"Our forces are regrouping, maneuvering and engineers are strengthening the fortification of roadblocks, preparing for the liberation of these cities," he added.

Military losses

Ukraine's military has made major advances over the past month and says it has almost cut off Donetsk from the Russian border and second rebel bastion of Lugansk.

But amid these advances government forces have continued to face heavy bombardments. Wednesday's announcement that 18 soldiers had been killed and 54 injured in fighting over the past 24 hours was the highest daily toll in weeks.

Three civilians were also killed overnight amid shelling on different suburbs of Donetsk, the city council said. This included two deaths already announced Tuesday evening.

Government troops have been battling the rebels since April in the Russian-speaking east in a conflict which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says has cost the lives of more than 1,100 people, including government forces, rebels and civilians.

The Red Cross has labeled the conflict in east Ukraine a civil war.

A U.N. High Commissioners for Refugees report on Tuesday said more than 117,000 people are internally displaced in Ukraine and an estimated 168,000 have crossed into Russia to avoid the fighting.

The deaths overnight among government forces suggests that Kyiv military losses now total around 400.

Russia's role

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of orchestrating the revolt and arming the rebels - something denied by Moscow. The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia.

Fighting has intensified since the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner last month, killing all 298 people on board - an act the West laid at the door of the rebels. Russia and the rebels blame the disaster on Kyiv's military offensive.

As the rebels struggle to push back Kyiv's forces, the wild card will be whether Russia will come to their rescue.

President Vladimir Putin has faced increasing pressure from Russian nationalists urging him to send in the army to back the insurgency, and Western leaders have accused Russia of building up troops along the border with Ukraine.

Russia has denied any buildup on the border.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday also shrugged off U.S. warnings that an air force exercise in southern Russia this week was adding to tensions, saying that the drills are conducted hundreds of kilometers away from the Ukrainian border.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AlexUKI from: Canada
August 06, 2014 10:20 AM
Actually those were not real government forces. Those are national guard forces. National guard forces are legalized fascists forces lead by Yarosh who is well know leader of the 'right sector' which is one of the nazi organization in Ukraine. Those are financed by Igor Kolomoiski known as Benny the Killer in the criminal circle. The batalion which has suffered the most is called "Azov". By the way HRW already reported on Nationa guard using heavy and not precise systems like GRAD to hit residential areas. By the way a few days ago 478 Ukrainian real army solders have fled to Russia. They do not want to participate in the killing of civilians. International reportes were invited to talk to them and to check how they are treated on Russian territory. CNN, FOX, ABC, REUTERS, BBC and others refused to send their reporters I guess they are not interested in hearing about the current genocide from the first hand. They like to sit in their offices and repeat the Ukrainian puppets lies. Democracy in its pure form.

In Response

by: Dick from: Detroit
August 06, 2014 3:04 PM
Can see the Russian propaganda machine is out in full force calling people Nazis while the truth is known well here, the only people that buy Nazi artifacts in the US are WW2 vets, skin heads, and people from Russia...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid