DONETSK, April 20. /TASS/. Ukrainian troops sustained 86 casualties in battles with forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Spokesman for the DPR People’s Militia Eduard Basurin said on Wednesday.
"In the past 24 hours, our forces eliminated 86 Ukrainian nationalists, an infantry fighting vehicle, two armored personnel carriers, three 122mm D-30 howitzer positions and a cargo transport vehicle. They also seized one tank, one armored personnel carrier and two cargo transport vehicles," the spokesman said.
The situation at the line of engagement in Donbass escalated on February 17. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) reported the most massive bombardments by the Ukrainian military in recent months, which damaged civilian infrastructure and caused civilian casualties.
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced recognizing the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as of the beginning of 2014.
Russian President Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.
The DPR and the LPR launched an operation to liberate their territories under Kiev’s control.