179 Ukrainian soldiers killed in battle for Debaltseve: Kiev official
Iran Press TV
Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:33PM
A Ukrainian official says at least 179 government troops lost their lives in the conflict with pro-Russia forces in the key eastern town of Debaltseve over the past month.
Yuri Biryukov, an adviser to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said in a Facebook post late Friday that an estimated 179 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in Debaltseve between January 18 and February 18.
The official also confirmed that 110 soldiers were captured by the pro-Russia forces in the battle, adding that another 81 were missing as well.
'One hundred and seventy-nine fell (died) over the month. In fact it will be more than that, some of the missing will inevitably be dead,' Biryukov wrote.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian forces withdrew from Debaltseve following fierce clashes with pro-Russian forces.
The pro-Russia forces and Kiev troops had been battling for Debaltseve for weeks. The town connects Donetsk and Luhansk, the strongholds of the pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine.
Both cities have been hit by deadly clashes between the pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April last year to crush pro-Russia protests there.
In May 2014, the situation in the two flashpoint cities started to worsen as residents overwhelmingly voted for independence from Ukraine in referendums.
Nearly 5,700 people have been killed and close to a million have been displaced since the armed conflict began in eastern Ukraine.
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