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Russia demands condemnation of mercenaries’ activity in eastern Ukraine

July 21, 2014, 20:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes
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©  EPA/ANASTASIA VLASOVA

MOSCOW, July 21./ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday demanded that Sweden, Finland, the Baltic states and France conduct a thorough investigation into alleged participation by mercenaries from these countries in hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

The ministry said this while commenting on a story in Italian publication Il Giornale that said the mercenaries took part in a military operation as part of the so-called Azov battalion in eastern Ukraine, whose activity is financed and led by Igor Kolomoisky, an oligarch and Dnepropetrovsk Region governor.

“If information contained in the publication is true, it is a new confirmation of foreign militants’ involvement in the armed intra-Ukrainian conflict of a non-international nature,” it said.

Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast.

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