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Lysenko added that 45 Ukrainian soldiers remained in captivity, including two pilots shot down in an Antonov An-26 (NATO reporting name: Curl) civilian and military transport aircraft.
Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk 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 south-east.
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.