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Militias encircle Kiev troops near Debaltsevo — Donetsk republic defense ministry

January 30, 2015, 20:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic have made a decision to preserve the soldiers’ lives

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Militia fighters in eastern Ukraine

Militia fighters in eastern Ukraine

© Valery Sharifulin /TASS

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have fully blocked a grouping of Kiev troops near the city of Debaltsevo in eastern Ukraine, a spokesman for the DPR Defense Ministry said on Friday.

Eduard Basurin said the militias had taken the city of Uglegorsk and adjoining areas under control, thus trapping about 8,000 Kiev troops.

The DPR leaders "have made a decision to preserve soldiers’ lives," Basurin said adding 11 troops had already taken the side of the militias.

Eduard Basurin earlier this week said 1,194 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed since the beginning of combat operations in eastern Ukraine.

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