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Militiamen hold 29 Ukrainian soldiers in east Ukraine captive - acting defense minister

July 03, 2014, 1:01 UTC+3 KIEV

The Ukrainian side is pushing for their release, Mikhail Koval said

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KIEV, July 02 /ITAR-TASS/. Militiamen in Ukraine’s embattled eastern regions are currently holding 29 Ukrainian servicemen captive, Ukrainian parliament-appointed acting Defense Minister Mikhail Koval said Wednesday.

“As of today, 29 military are in captivity,” Koval said, adding that the Ukrainian side is pushing for their release.

Earlier, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andrey Lysenko told a briefing that “200 Ukrainian security officials have died and 619 have been wounded” since the start of Kiev's military operation in the eastern regions.

Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a punitive operation against federalization supporters and militias in Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast, which involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation and has resulted in hundreds of deaths, destruction of buildings and forced tens of thousands to flee Ukraine to Russia.

Fierce military attacks of the pro-Kiev forces on the country’s southeastern regions resumed after President Pyotr Poroshenko, who had been elected in late May and taken office on June 7, ended the 10-day ceasefire in the Southeast on Monday. When the truce was in place, there were reports that it was repeatedly violated by Kiev.

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