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Self-proclaimed republics’ forces practically encircle Mariupol — Novorossiya News Agency

August 29, 2014, 13:54 UTC+3 DONETSK

Earlier reports said Ukrainian units deployed near Novoazovsk had retreated to Mariupol

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DONETSK, August 29./ITAR-TASS/. The self-proclaimed republics’ forces have practically encircled the city of Mariupol in Ukraine’s embattled southeastern Donetsk region, the Novorossiya News Agency said on Friday.

“During the fighting overnight, the Novorossiya forces took control of the villages of Starchenkovo, Respublika, Zeleny Yar, Boyevoye, Malinovka, Demyanovka, Starodubkovka, Chervonoye Pole and Osipenko,” the news agency said.

“At present, the operational situation is the following: Donbass’ defenders blocked a section of the Mangush-Osipenko road. The clashes are continuing in Urzuf,” it said, adding “Chances are high that today [Ukrainian] punitive troops will be finally entrapped in Mariupol.”

Earlier reports said Ukrainian units deployed near Novoazovsk had retreated to Mariupol. “Militias took control of checkpoints and strong points on the outskirts of the city, as well as a bridge across Gruzsky Elanchik River.”

Mariupol residents said the regional administration and most of the military had left the city; food stores had run out of stocks, with cereals and sugar no longer available; and drivers were experiencing serious fuel shortages. “People are waiting for the Donetsk People’s Republic troops to come,” eyewitnesses said.

Militias have begun what they call a humanitarian-combat operation to push the Ukrainian army away from major cities and to stop its artillery strikes on densely populated residential areas.

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