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Donetsk Republic army HQ suggests encircled Ukrainian servicemen lay down arms

August 26, 2014, 21:01 UTC+3 DONETSK
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DONETSK, August 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The army headquarters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine has used media to address Ukrainian servicemen encircled on DPR territory and urge them to stop senseless resistance and lay down arms to have their lives saved.

Otherwise, the DPR militia warned, “hostilities will be continued until the surrounded groups are destroyed in full.” Ukrainian army generals and officers will then be responsible for Ukrainian servicemen’s deaths, militiamen said.

The address says that “the DPR armed forces proceeded to large-scale offensive in all directions from August 24.”

“DPR army units have closely surrounded Ukrainian army groups in the vicinity of the following localities: Olenovka, Starobeshevo; Voykovsky, Kuteynikovo, Blagodatnoye, Alexeyevskoye, Uspenka, Ulyanovskoye; Stepanovka, Amvrosiyevka, Stepano-Krynka,” it said.

It said the encirclement included the headquarters of the 8th army corps, the 28th, 30th, and 93rd mechanized brigades, the 95th air mobile brigade, assigned territorial defense battalions Aidar, Donbass, Shaktyorsk, National Guard battalions Azov, Dnepr and other units.

“There are no real prospects of breaking the encirclement. Your situation is hopeless and further resistance is senseless. You are waging war against your own people. Fulfillment of criminal orders in a fratricidal war will bring you neither glory nor money. The alternative to resistance is death,” the address said.

“In the deadlock” and “to avoid useless bloodshed”, DPR army headquarters representatives suggested that the encircled Ukrainian troops “stop resistance” and “hand personal arms, combat hardware and military property to militia forces.”

In turn, militiamen guarantee that “the lives of all officers and soldiers who stop resistance will be preserved and they will be in safety; those wounded will receive the required medical assistance.”

Ukrainian servicemen who pledge not to take part in warfare against the DPR and the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic in the future will be handed to representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and close relatives, the document said.

Ukraine has been in turmoil since the end of last year, when then-President Viktor Yanukovich suspended the signing of the association agreement with the European Union to study the deal more thoroughly. His decision triggered anti-government protests that often turned violent and eventually led to a coup in February 2014.

New people were brought to power in Kiev amid riots and ultranationalist rhetoric. Crimea refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities, held a referendum and seceded from Ukraine to reunify with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine. The West and Kiev do not recognize Crimea's reunification with Russia.

Crimea’s example apparently inspired residents of Ukraine’s southeast, who supported the country’s decentralization. They started massive protests, formed militias and started fighting for their rights.

The southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions have been the scene of fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias as the Ukrainian armed forces have been conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.

Kiev's operation, conducted since mid-April, has employed armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.

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