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Donetsk militia forces claim seizing control of Starobeshevo from pro-Kiev troops

August 26, 2014, 21:41 UTC+3 DONETSK
ITAR-TASS has no confirmations as of yet from other sources on the seizure of Starobeshevo settlement as well as on earlier information concerning the seizure of Saur-Mogila height
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DONETSK, August 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Militia forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) seized from pro-Kiev troops the settlement of Starobeshevo, located in the southeast of the embattled region, the headquarters of the DPR militia forces told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

“A total of four MSTA-S self-propelled howitzers and a depot containing considerable amount of ammunition were seized,” the headquarters told ITAR-TASS. “Twelve [enemy’s] armored combat vehicles were destroyed. Enemy’s casualties totaled 19 killed and 40 wounded.”

ITAR-TASS has no confirmations as of yet from other sources on the seizure of Starobeshevo settlement as well as on earlier information concerning the seizure of Saur-Mogila height.

The headquarters of the DPR militia forces earlier told ITAR-TASS that self-defense fighters seized from pro-Kiev troops the strategically important height, Saur-Mogila, assuming control of the border area with Russia that stretches up to the Sea of Azov.

“Almost all border [area] stretching from Saur-Mogila to the Sea of Azov is ours,” the headquarters said.

“Using this highest point in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian troops were able to track all movements of militia forces. The seizure of this height can be considered as a breakthrough in the battles. Militia forces will be now keeping track of Ukrainian troops’ movements,” the headquarters said.

“In fact, this means that our forces secured another victory to encircle the National Guards,” the headquarters added.

Local news agency Novorossiya reported earlier on Tuesday that east Ukraine self-defense fighters are battling with the pro-Kiev troops for control of the town of Ilovaisk and the settlements of Yelenovka (Olenovka) and Yasinovataya.

Fighting for Yelenovka (Olenovka) resumed on Tuesday morning. The militias gained control of this populated area on Monday but were eventually forced to leave it as they had no reinforcements to continue their offensive.

The militia headquarters earlier reported that the Donetsk People’s Republic, which had formed united armed forces, launched a counteroffensive on August 24 and 25, encircling three large groupings of Ukrainian troops.

The Donetsk self-defense fighters blocked over 7,000 Ukrainian troops and over 400 pieces of the armor, the militia headquarters said.

The pro-Kiev grouping trapped in the cauldron also included over 40 tanks, about 100 infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers and airborne combat vehicles and about 50 Grad and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems, the militia headquarters said.

The headquarters of Kiev’s military operation in the country’s east and the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council did not confirm the militia’s reports.

The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council said that the pro-Kiev troops had destroyed about 250 militia, eight tanks, 10 combat armored vehicles, three Grad multiple rocket launchers and one howitzer on August 25 alone near Ilovaisk, Khartsyzsk and Yelenovka (Olenovka). The heaviest fighting took place near Yelenovka (Olenovka) where the Ukrainian troops destroyed 7 tanks, 7 combat armored vehicles, one Grad rocket launcher and one howitzer, the National Security and Defense Council said.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the eastern 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, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled east.

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