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Some 180 out of 438 military who fled to Russia return to Ukraine

August 04, 2014, 15:15 UTC+3 GUKOVO (Rostov region)
The servicemen are heading home on buses and armored vehicles
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© EPA/STR

GUKOVO (Rostov region), August 04. /ITAR-TASS/.

More than 180 of 438 Ukrainian servicemen crossing into Russia’s Rostov region overnight to Monday are heading back home, a Russian Federal Security Service official said.

“The FSB border department for the Rostov region has organized the transfer of Ukrainian military who decided to return home,” its spokesman Vassily Malayev said. The servicemen are heading home on buses and armored vehicles.

The rest of the group are still staying in Russia.

On Monday night, a group of 438 Ukrainian servicemen and border guards asked for permission to enter Russia, and a humanitarian corridor was opened for them.

A group of Ukrainian servicemen had to cross into Russia overnight to Monday after they had run out of ammunition in a fight against militia, said a spokesman for the military operation headquarters following earlier reports about Ukrainian military fleeing to Russia.

Alexei Dmitrashkovsky said Ukrainian military had been surrounded by militiamen while running out of ammunition. “Their military hardware was damaged,” Dmitrashkovsky said, adding that the servicemen had to cross the border.

Meanwhile, a Russian Federal Security Service official reported earlier on Monday that more than 400 Ukrainian military said to have served in Ukraine's Mechanised Brigade 72 and with the border guards crossed into Russia overnight to Monday seeking an asylum.

Regional border service spokesman Vassily Malayev said a humanitarian corridor had been opened for them. “They said they were tired of war and wanted no further involvement,” Malayev told Itar-Tass, adding that the fugitives had no idea what the future held.

A tent camp has been set up for them near Gukovo border checkpoint, the spokesman said. The servicemen who laid down arms were surprised that they were treated well as information of Kiev media was in sharp contrast to the reality they saw. “We could have a bath, received new clothes. We are very grateful,” one of them told Russian Lifenews television.

According to Ukrainian military, before they crossed the border they had been told that Russia was an “aggressor country” engaged in combat operations against them. Now, they have made sure it was not true, they added.

A military conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine in April after its Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared independence from the new government in Kiev.

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