Sun, Aug 10, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Ukraine takes town, surrounds Donetsk

AP, DONETSK, Ukraine

A top commander of the pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine said yesterday that Ukrainian forces have seized a key town, leaving the rebel region’s largest city of Donetsk surrounded.

The statement by Igor Girkin, a former Russian special services officer, appears to be a significant admission by the rebels that Ukrainian forces are gaining the upper hand in the four-month-old fight.

Strelkov said the town of Krasnyi Luch, which lies on one of the two main roads between Donetsk and the rebel-held east’s other main city of Luhansk, “has been taken by the enemy.”

“The Donetsk-Horlivka group of the fighters of Novorossiya is completely surrounded,” he said on a rebel social media page. Novorossiya, or New Russia, is a local term for the rebel region.

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters yesterday that he could not confirm the claim that Krasnyi Luch was under Ukrainian control.

In Donetsk, a spokesman for the city administration said at least one person was killed and several injured in shelling of the city’s southern area yesterday. Spokesman Maxim Rovninsky also told reporters that about 30 apartment blocks came under fire during the night.

As the fighting proceeds, concerns are rising about a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Luhansk, where fighting has been heavier and more prolonged.

Russian news agencies quoted a statement from the Luhansk city administration saying that the city has been without water and electricity for a week and that most of its stores are closed.

Russia has been pushing for a humanitarian mission to Luhansk, but Kiev and Western countries suspect that could be a pretext for sending in troops. Western countries say Russia has assembled about 20,000 troops just across the border.

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