3,088 Ukraine troops killed in Debaltseve: DPR
Iran Press TV
Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:20AM
The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) has announced that a total of 3,088 government troops have been killed in the battle for the flashpoint city of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine.
'All in all, 3,048 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in Debaltseve plus another 40,' Eduard Basurin, an official with the defense ministry, told reporters on Thursday.
Ukrainian officials have not made any comment on the claim yet.
The death toll came as the pro-Russia forces and Kiev troops have been battling for Debaltseve, which connects Donetsk and Lugansk, the strongholds of the pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine.
Withdrawal of Ukrainian troops
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said late Wednesday that 2,475 Ukrainian troops had left Debaltseve.
'As of this moment (Wednesday evening), a total of 2,475 troops left Debaltseve… They include 2,132 servicemen of the Armed Forces and 158 National Guard soldiers. The others are servicemen of the Interior Ministry,' Poroshenko said.
'Around 200 complete units of military hardware were withdrawn from the Debaltseve area,' he said.
Poroshenko added that six Ukrainian soldiers were killed and more than 100 others wounded during the pullout.
This is while a new deal endorsed by the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine has called for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armaments as the initial steps toward a political settlement of the Ukrainian conflict.
On Sunday, Basurin, criticized Kiev for breaching the truce deal signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk on February 12.
"At 02:00 am, the Ukrainian armed forces opened mortar and artillery fire on the DPR and LPR (the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk) positions," said the spokesman, who also threatened to retaliate the Ukrainian army's attacks on pro-Russia forces.
Back in September 2014, the representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk signed another ceasefire deal in Minsk. However, the truce was violated on an almost daily basis by both the Ukrainian military and the pro-Russia forces and thus failed to deliver any practical result.
Donetsk and Lugansk are two of Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east that have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russians and the Ukrainian army since the government in Kiev launched military operations against the pro-Russians in April 2014.
Violence intensified in May last year after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|