LUGANSK, July 15 /ITAR-TASS/. Militiamen of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) have killed about 100 Ukrainian army personnel, destroyed five tanks, two infantry combat vehicles, two armored personnel carriers and a mortar battery over the past 24 hours during a battle for the Lugansk Airport, the LPR press service reported Monday.
“In this way, the Lugansk residents have managed to keep airport blockade. The enemy retreated to positions occupied a day before. The localities of Rodakovo, Alexandrovka, Yubileyny remain under LPR army control,” the press service said.
Before noon on Monday, Lugansk was shelled by the Ukrainian military presumably from the Tyulpan heavy 240-millimeter mortar. Shells landed in an area of private houses, a house was completely destroyed and one person was wounded.
The LPR said 17 of its fighters are blocked in the area of the radar, the road leading there has been mined. Ukraine’s Air Force delivered an air strike on LPR army units near Lisichansk, no one was injured. Return fire shot down an aircraft, the pilot ejected. A Ukrainian Air Force transport plane was spotted closer to noon above the locality of Izvarino. It was also shot down by LPR army units.
The LPR press service said Ukraine’s armed forces opened fire at Lugansk’s southwestern neighborhood Mirny from Grad multiple launch rocket systems, causing casualties and destructions.
Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk 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 embattled 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.