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Up to 30 of Ukraine's Special Forces Feared Dead in Militia Attack - Donetsk Republic

RIA Novosti

17:01 11/07/2014

DONETSK, July 11 (RIA Novosti) - Independence supporters shelled a convoy of Ukrainian special forces vehicles near Zelenopolye village in Luhansk region, and up to 30 military officers are feared dead, a representative from the headquarters of the Donetsk People's Republic told RIA Novosti on Friday, with Ukraine's Interior Ministry confirming the information.

'According to the data we have, the 24th Motorized Division from Lviv came under attack. The exact number of casualties is unknown; there could be two dozen to three dozen. The convoy is destroyed,' the representative said.

The convoy was moving along the Russian border in order to surround the territory occupied by the independence supporters.

Zoryan Shkiryak, adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, confirmed that 30 special forces officers were killed, according to Ukrainian television channel 112. He said there could be more casualties.

Last week, independence supporters were forced to retreat from the cities of Slaviansk and Kramatorsk as government troops announced they had gained control over two-thirds of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Deputy head of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service Mykhailo Koval stated that the country's special forces were planning to set up a complete blockade of Donetsk and Luhansk in order to force independence supporters to lay down their arms.

Military actions have been taking place in the southeast of Ukraine since mid-April, when Kiev authorities launched a special operation in a crackdown on independence supporters. The violence intensified after the Luhansk and Donetsk regions declared independence from Ukraine in May.

Russia has repeatedly condemned Kiev's actions and urged for a peaceful dialogue with representatives of Ukraine's southeastern regions.

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