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Militia leader Bolotov orders counteroffensive against Ukrainian army in Luhansk

July 22, 2014, 19:47 UTC+3 LUGANSK
The leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic said that the city was not encircled, “considerable damage was inflicted upon the enemy” last night
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© AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

LUHANSK, July 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), Valery Bolotov, has ordered a counteroffensive against the Ukrainian army in Luhansk, a city in eastern Ukraine.

“Considering the current situation - the surrender of Severodonetsk and Lisichansk and the humanitarian situation in Luhansk - I have ordered the beginning of a counteroffensive in order to unblock Luhansk,” Bolotov said at a news conference on Tuesday.

He said Luhansk was not encircled, “considerable damage was inflicted upon the enemy” last night and “a group (of Ukrainian troops) remains trapped at the city airport, but it will be over and done with shortly”.

Bolotov also said that traffic, which was suspended on July 21, had resumed in the city.

Eye-witnesses are reporting that “Lisichansk and Severodonetsk are not fully surrendered” and militias are continuing to fight off the government troops.

Meanwhile, the army was reported to be mopping up Severodonetsk to clear it of militiamen.

The LNR press service said that the Ukrainian army continued to shell the city using mobile subversive groups and that the army was advancing in several tank columns. It said that Lisichansk had been heavily shelled last night.

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