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Ukraine’s military retreats from Luhansk, leaves settlements near Donetsk

July 17, 2014, 13:27 UTC+3 DONETSK
The southeast Ukraine militia has tanks, combat aircraft, multiple launch rocket systems and artillery guns in its arsenal
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© EPA/ANASTASIA VLASOVA

DONETSK, July 17 /ITAR-TASS/. Self-defense fighters in the southeast Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions have forced the Ukrainian military to retreat, the local news agency Novorossiya reported on its website on Thursday.

The Ukrainian troops have left their positions in the settlements of Sabovka, Govorukha, Roskoshnoye and Georgiyevka outside Luhansk and retreated to the west, the news agency said.

The militia has also established control over the settlement of Marinovka in the Donetsk Region. During the battle, the Ukrainian troops were surrounded by self-defense forces and had to retreat.

Troops of the Donetsk People’s Republic opened fire from 120 mm mortars against the Ukrainian military’s fortified positions in the area of the settlement of Mospino in the Donetsk Region, destroying a KAMAZ truck, an armored personnel carrier and an anti-tank system and killing and wounding about 50 personnel, self-defense militia reported.

Kiev has not yet commented on this information.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on Wednesday evening that fierce fighting was underway between self-defense militia and the Ukrainian military in the settlements of Amvrosiyevka, Marinovka and Izvarino in the Donetsk Region.

“We understand that there are losses. The battle is continuing, our guys are fighting on but it is very hard there so far,” Lysenko said.

The southeast Ukraine militia has tanks, combat aircraft, multiple launch rocket systems and artillery guns in its arsenal. The self-defense fighters say they have seized all these armaments in battles against the Ukrainian military.

The Donetsk defenders earlier said they had recommissioned a World War II tank that had long stood as a monument at a war memorial.

Infographics Who fights in Ukraine Who fights in Ukraine
The political crisis in Ukraine led to the formation of many armed groups on its territory. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
The parliament of the newly created Union of the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics on Tuesday declared as illegal all armed Ukrainian formations staying on their territories and said that “corresponding measures would be taken” against them.

Donetsk People’s Republic Defense Minister Igor Strelkov earlier said that the self-defense militia was switching to a contractual basis and would now “receive about $500-800 in money allowance.” Union Parliament Chairman Oleg Tsaryov said the self-defense forces had enough strength to contain the Ukrainian military.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled south-east.

The Ukrainian army has lost 258 soldiers and another 922 have been wounded in Kiev’s punitive operation in Ukraine’s embattled Southeast, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesperson Andrei Lysenko said on Tuesday.

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