Pro-Russians in Donetsk vow to fight Ukraine army
Iran Press TV
Wed Jul 9, 2014 1:49PM GMT
The security chief of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic has pledged to fight the Ukrainian army.
Alexander Khodakovsky said on Tuesday that pro-Russians are preparing to defend Donetsk, an industrial city of one million people, and hit back after losing Slavyansk, their main stronghold.
'We are ready to stand...as much as we need," said Khodakovsky, adding, "We will stay here until the very end."
Khodakovsky's remarks came after Ukraine's government threatened the pro-Russians with what Kiev described as a "nasty surprise."
According to a Ukrainian security official, the government is planning to clear two large eastern cities of Donetsk and Lugansk from pro-Russians.
On July 5, Ukrainian forces retook control of Slavyansk following overnight attacks. Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said fighters only left Slavyansk to protect the civilian population.
Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking parts in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia activists and the Ukrainian army since the government in Kiev launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush the pro-Russia protests.
Violence intensified in May after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the ongoing military campaign in Ukraine, which has also forced tens of thousands to escape to Russia.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|