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KIEV, July 13 /ITAR-TASS/. Over the past 24 hours of Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine, seven Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 30 wounded, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said Sunday.
The spokesman, Andrey Lysenko, said “12 cases of artillery shelling of antiterrorism operation forces” have been registered over the past day, including roadblocks, as well as the inhabited localities of Izvarino (Lugansk Region) and Marinovka (Donetsk Region).
Lysenko claimed supporters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) shelled Donetsk’s residential areas, “killing six civilians and wounding eight.”
The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council denied Ukrainian soldiers’ involvement in today’s shelling of the Russian border town of Donetsk in the Rostov Region.
“The forces of the antiterrorism operation do not deliver fire on the territory of the neighboring state or on residential areas,” Lysenko said.
The Ukrainian army shelled the Russian town of Donetsk with high-explosive projectiles early on Sunday. A shell hit a private house killing one Russian resident and seriously wounding another two.
Lysenko said “the key task of the Ukrainian military is to liberate the territory of Ukraine from terrorists, bandits and mercenaries.”
“If reports are coming that it was done by the Ukrainian military, it is untrue,” he said.
Lysenko also claimed “there are many facts when terrorists make provocative shellings of Russian territory and then accuse Ukraine’s army of that.”
Kiev and the West call representatives of southeastern Ukrainian militias fighting for the rights of regional residents “terrorists.”
Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions are still 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 embattled Southeast.
According to the press center of Kiev’s army operation in southeastern Ukraine, overall, 173 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 446 wounded over the period of combat activities in Ukraine’s Southeast.
South Ossetia has recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic. No other countries have followed suit so far.
The urge of residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to form militias to defend their rights was apparently inspired by the example of Crimea, which refused to recognize the authorities imposed during a coup in Ukraine in February and seceded from the country to accede to Russia in March.