200 rebels killed in Donetsk airport, says Ukraine
Kiev: Insurgents in eastern Ukraine Thursday suffered their bloodiest day since the ceasefire, losing "up to 200" of their fighters in clashes with government troops in the airport of Donetsk city, the press service of Ukrainian army said Friday.
"The fighters, who yesterday had been shelling positions of Ukrainian troops in the territory of Donetsk airport, were annihilated by artillery fire," the press service said on its official Facebook page, Xinhua reported.
Separately, Andrei Lysenko, spokesperson for Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council said that a surge of fighting in Donetsk and Lugansk regions left five government soldiers dead and 16 wounded in the last 24 hours.
He claimed that over the past day the rebels got significant reinforcement, saying that the troops and military hardware "crossed from Russia" into Ukraine.
In turn, the rebel press office accused the Ukrainian army of preparing fresh offensive, saying that "dozens of infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers and trucks with ammunition" are heading towards Donetsk city, the main rebel stronghold.
The rebels have not commented on their casualties over the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the Donetsk Municipal Council said that fierce fighting between government troops and insurgents, which had been raging in Donetsk overnight, wounded 15 civilians, but there were no deaths.
As the violence continues to intensify, the opposing sides in Ukraine's confrontation blame each other for breaking a tenuous truce deal signed Sep 5 to pave the way for a peaceful solution to the bloodshed that killed over 4,000 people.