'At least 30' Ukrainian military killed as militia shell convoy with Grad rockets
Published time: July 11, 2014 18:28
Edited time: July 11, 2014 19:54
Edited time: July 11, 2014 19:54
Dozens of Ukraine’s government troops have been reportedly killed after local militia shelled pro-Kiev military forces with Grad rocket launchers. President Poroshenko has vowed “killing hundreds” for each deceased soldier.
Self-defense troops attacked a Ukrainian military unit at around 5:00am near Zelenopolye village in the Lugansk region, not far from the Russian border, Kiev’s officials reported.
A military official described the consequences of what he called “a bloody terrorist act” as“destruction” saying that about 30 were feared killed.
"About 30 servicemen are thought to have been killed in a shelling by militants using Grad multiple rocket launchers at units of the Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation (ATO) forces near the village of Zelenopolye,” Zoryan Shkyryak, an adviser to Interior Minister Arseny Avakov, said at a briefing. “There might be more victims.”
However, the Ministry of Defense press-office later confirmed the deaths of only 19 servicemen, lowering the initial death toll. It also said that 93 soldiers had sustained wounds, while Shkyryak put the number of injured at 100 people.
Self-defense forces have confirmed that they targeted the Ukrainian army convoy with Grad rocket launchers.
“According to our information, the Ukrainian military convoy from Lvov came under fire. The exact number of killed is unknown; there might be two or three dozen killed. The convoy was destroyed,” a member of the opposition told RIA Novosti.
Speaking in front of journalists, the Interior Ministry adviser vowed revenge for the attack, saying that those behind it “will be punished, either eliminated or captured, and they will answer according to the laws of Ukraine."
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko later echoed the retaliation threats, stating that for each of the killed men “militants will pay with dozens and hundreds of theirs [people].”
One of the soldiers’ wives has told the UNIAN news agency that her husband contacted her by phone and said that fighting had started again near Zelenopolye as opposition self-defense troops fired at a military convoy that was transporting servicemen wounded in the morning attack.
The woman, who was not named, told the journalists that pro-government troops have no equipment and ammunition to fire back.
“They really need help and reinforcements,” she told journalists, urging them to pass on the information to Kiev.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for Kiev’s military operation in the east, Vladislav Seleznev, has said that 23 Ukrainian soldiers have died in battle between opposition and government forces in eastern Ukraine in the last 24 hours.
“Twenty-three members of the armed forces of Ukraine and the state border service of Ukraine have been killed, with 93 sustaining injuries. All the wounded are receiving medical treatment,"Seleznev posted on his Facebook page.
Seleznev stressed that the death toll figures he shared in his post included the number of soldiers killed on Friday morning.
The country’s deputy health minister, Vasily Lazoryshynets, said on Thursday that 478 civilians, including seven children, had been killed in Kiev’s military crackdown on the eastern regions of Ukraine – which “is unfortunately greater than the military losses.”
However, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health later reduced the civilian death toll figure, saying that the deputy minister “only provided the latest statistics on the overall mortality level.”
Moon of Alabama....
Ukraine: Pro-Coup-Government Forces Hit Hard
The pro-federation forces in east Ukraine seem to have severely hit the coup-government's army which is attempting to surround and attack them.
The Ukrainian 79th and 24th brigades from Lviv, western Ukraine, bunched up over night in some place around Zelenopliya between the south-eastern rebel positions and the nearby Russian border. They were hit by a barrage of grad rockets fired by the pro-federation forces. First picturesavailable on the Internet show many destroyed vehicle - main battle tanks, APCs, trucks - probably the result of secondary (ammunition) explosions.
The not yet confirmed casualty count is 67 killed and 175 wounded government soldiers.
This major loss could lead to a new assessment of the situation by the government side and then to serious attempts to negotiate a ceasefire. It could also lead to further military escalations.