DONETSK, April 23. /TASS/. Twenty service members from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) were killed in fighting against Ukrainian nationalists in the past week, Deputy Chief of the DRP People’s Militia Eduard Basurin said.
"We are sorry to report that 20 defenders of the DPR were killed in fighting against UKrainian nationalists in the past week and another 119 suffered wounds," he said, according to a statement posted on the DPR militia’s Telegram channel.
Basurin specified that the Ukrainian military had fired over 100 munitions at the DPR territory in the past day. The attacks involved 122 mm BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers, 122 mm artillery pieces, 82 mm and 120 mm mortars. Five settlements came under fire, two homes were damaged. At the same time, DPR forces killed 27 Ukrainian nationalists, destroyed an infantry fighting vehicle and two armored personnel carriers.
Tensions escalated along the line of contact in Donbass on February 17. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics reported the heaviest shelling by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in months. On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics within the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as they were at the beginning of 2014, based on the DPR and LPR constitutions. On February 24, Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics in order to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine.