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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Role in Fighting IS Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid