140 Ukrainian soldiers killed during special operation in southeast - Defense Ministry
25 June 2014, 14:07 -- More than 140 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed during a special operation in southeastern Ukraine since the middle of April, Ukrainian Defense Minister Mikhail Koval said on Monday.
'One hundred and forty-two,' he said, when asked by journalists how many Ukrainian servicemen had been killed during the operation.
A week ago, on June 18, head of the Defense Ministry's military-medical department Vitaly Andronatiy told a parliamentary committee for health issues that 147 servicemen had been killed.
The aim of the special operation, which has been going on since the middle of April and is referred to as 'punitive' by Moscow, is to crush pro-independence supporters refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the new central government installed after the February armed coup in Kiev.
Russia has repeatedly urged an immediate end to bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine.
Last week, newly-elected President Petr Poroshenko announced a ceasefire and ordered all the Ukrainian forces engaged in armed confrontation in the southeast to obey it until 10 pm local time (11 pm Moscow time) of June 27. He presented a 15-item peace plan and guaranteed negotiators' safety.
The first round of talks took place on Monday. The self-defense forces of southeastern Ukraine accepted the ceasefire proposal.
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