Troops Advance On East Ukraine Rebels Amid Heavy Fighting
| By NEBI QENA
— Ukrainian troops on
Tuesday launched an offensive against pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern
city of Slovyansk and advanced through the city's outskirts, the nation's
interior minister said.
Arsen Avakov said that government troops
broke through rebel positions around the village of Semenovka on the eastern
fringe of Slovyansk. "An active offensive stage of the counterterrorist
operation is underway in Slovyansk," he wrote on his Facebook page.
Local residents said that several Ukrainian
combat jets and helicopter gunships attacked rebel positions on the eastern
outskirts of Slovyansk, and heavy artillery barrages have continued throughout
An AP journalist heard sustained gun and
artillery fire and saw plumes of black smoke rising over the city. Ukrainian
combat jets could be seen flying over the city.
Avakov warned residents in Slovyansk and the
nearby cities of Kramatorsk and Krasny Liman to stay at home.
A Ukrainian military officer, who spoke on
condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media, said
one serviceman was killed and 13 others were wounded when their vehicle came
under rebel fire near Slovyansk.
The Interfax news agency quoted Vyacheslav
Ponomarev, the leader of insurgents in Slovyansk, as saying that his men downed
a Ukrainian jet and a helicopter gunship. The information, which was denied by
the Ukrainian military, couldn't be independently confirmed.
Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly announced an escalation in armed
operations, only to eventually back down. Government forces have in recent days
been noticeably reinforced to the north of Slovyansk, however, and deployment
of air power over the past week has signaled increased determination.
Slovyansk, which sits on a strategic highway,
has seen daily fighting between government forces and the rebels, who have
seized government buildings and set up checkpoints around the eastern provinces
of Donetsk and Luhansk that form Ukraine's industrial heartland.
The fighting has escalated following the May
25 presidential election won by billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko,
with rebels launching an attack on Donetsk airport and shooting down a
government helicopter over Slovyansk.
On Monday, hundreds of rebels armed with
automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades mounted a daylong siege of a border
guards base on the outskirts of Luhansk that coordinates the protection of
Ukraine's border with Russia. Border guards said they killed at least five
rebels in repelling the attack.
Rebels in Luhansk said that eight people were
killed and another 28 were wounded Monday when a Ukrainian jet fired rockets at
the regional administration building that the insurgents had turned into their
The Ukrainian military denied launching the
attack and said that the building was hit by a rebel rocket that misfired, but
an observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
said Tuesday that the building was hit by an air raid.
Ukraine's acting chief prosecutor, Oleh
Makhnitskiy, said Tuesday that 181 people, including 59 Ukrainian servicemen,
have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine and another 293 have been
wounded. With the insurgents controlling several cities in the east, the death
toll released by Makhnitskyi is likely to be incomplete.
claim ever that they are or were Russian the Ukraine Authorities should
immediately arrange to deport those traitor’s to Russia or to any other country
that accepts them.
Ukraine should take pride to say they are UKRAINIANS not Russian. Many Citizen
have shown this feeling of patriotism being Russians and we people of the World
community of Nations salute them for such a feeling of nationalism.
of street bitches who claims to be secessionist and Russian should be killed like
street dogs without any remorse what so ever.
have no right to live in Ukraine be they are Russian or of any clan, race or
Religion. Traitors are always traitor. Once a secessionist is always a
secessionist. these so called Russian bastard secessionists damaged the country quite a lot. no more.