DONETSK, June 19. /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian army is using attack aviation and tanks to seize the village of Yampol in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, a spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.
“The situation is currently difficult,” the spokesman said. Ukrainian servicemen are currently trying to break through to the town of Seversk in the Artyomovsk District.
The DPR did not rule out that some militiamen could have been killed or wounded.
Fierce clashes have been underway between the Ukrainian military and militias in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which refused to recognize the authorities who had been propelled to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014. The regions' residents demanded the country's federalization.Kiev is conducting a punitive operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine's East that involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. It has already claimed hundreds of lives, including civilian, and left some buildings destroyed and damaged.
The Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which border on Russia, held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. Their independence has not been officially recognized.
Russia has repeatedly called on Kiev to end the punitive operation and engage in dialogue with Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking south-east. The operation, however, continues under newly elected President Petro Poroshenko, who won the May 25 early presidential elections and took office on June 7.