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Ukrainian army intensifies offensive on Donetsk

July 31, 2014, 18:18 UTC+3 DONETSK
Ukraine’s military command expects to end the security operation in east Ukraine in less than a month, Chief of the Ukrainian General Staff Viktor Muzhenko said
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DONETSK, July 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian troops have intensified their offensive on the city of Donetsk in east Ukraine, the Defense Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) reported on Thursday.

The Ukrainian troops are developing their offensive on all the fronts around the city, trying to join forces with their southern grouping, the ministry’s headquarters said.

Heavy fighting is reported in the south-western direction between the towns of Shakhtyorsk and Torez and near the settlement of Saur-Mogila outside Donetsk, the headquarters said.

Up to 70 pieces of the armor are supporting the offensive of the Ukrainian army’s Azov battalion from the south-western direction near the settlement of Pavlogradskoye, the DPR’s headquarters said.

Eight tanks and a battalion of Ukraine’s Right Sector ultra-right nationalist movement seized full control of the settlement of Avdeyevka during the night. The Ukrainian armor is also attempting to encircle Horlivka, the self-defenders’ headquarters said.

A heavy battle is raging in the area between Shaktyorsk and Torez. Self-defense fighters have destroyed one tank and seized 2 infantry fighting vehicles in the battle. One IFV is in a good condition, the militia’s headquarters said.

Self-defense militia’s artillery fire has also destroyed a supply convoy of the Ukrainian army and three Ural trucks with shells, the fighters’ headquarters said.

Meanwhile, another convoy of 40 armored vehicles is moving from the north to support the Ukrainian military, the self-defense militia said.

Intensive fighting is taking place in the area of Saur-Mogila, Self-defense fighters have had to leave the populated areas of Stepanovka and Marinovka after battles with the Ukrainian army, the militia’s headquarters said.

Ukraine’s military command expects to end the security operation in east Ukraine in less than a month, Chief of the Ukrainian General Staff Viktor Muzhenko said, without giving any specific dates.

“I would not speak about any exact date but the operation’s active phase will be over quite soon…In less than a month, perhaps,” Muzhenko said in an interview with the Novoye Vremya (New Times) magazine.

Meanwhile, spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Andriy Lysenko said on Thursday that eleven Ukrainian servicemen had been killed and another 51 wounded in the past twenty-four hours in Kiev’s military operation in the country’s east.

A total of 374 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 1,485 wounded since the start of Kiev’s military operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in mid-April.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the eastern 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, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled east.

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