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Three Ukrainian servicemen killed, 12 wounded in east

July 11, 2014, 10:39 UTC+3 11 11/7
During the period of combat actions in the east, 173 Ukrainian servicemen have died, and 446 have been wounded
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KIEV, July 11./ITAR-TASS/. Kiev-controlled military units lost three in dead and 12 in wounded in fighting in eastern Ukraine over the past 24 hours, the press centre of the military operation reported on Friday.

Seven soldiers were wounded, two severely, by mortar fire in the area of the village of Dyakovo in the Luhansk region. Militiamen of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic also opened mortar fire at the Ukrainian military's positions near the villages of Staraya Krasnyanka, the Luhansk region, and Marinovka, the Donetsk region.

During the period of combat actions in the east, 173 Ukrainian servicemen have died, and 446 have been wounded, the press centre said.


How it all began

At the end of last year, Ukraine’s then-President Viktor Yanukovych suspended the signing of an association agreement with the European Union to study the deal more thoroughly. His decision triggered anti-government protests that often turned violent and eventually led to a coup in February 2014.

New people were brought to power in Kiev amid riots and ultranationalist rhetoric. Crimea refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities, held a referendum and seceded from Ukraine to reunify with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Crimea’s example apparently inspired residents of Ukraine’s Southeast, who supported the country’s federalization. They started massive protests and formed militias.

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions bordering Russia held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. South Ossetia has recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic. No other countries have followed suit so far.

Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a punitive operation against federalization supporters, which has already claimed hundreds of lives, destroyed buildings and forced tens of thousands to flee Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly called on the Ukrainian authorities to stop the operation and engage in dialogue with the Southeast.

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