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Donetsk fighters battle with Ukrainian army for city approaches

The battle is raging near the villages of Marynivka and Dubrovka in the Donetsk region

DONETSK, July 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Donetsk self-defense fighters are battling with the Ukrainian army near the populated areas outside the city, the press office of the Donetsk People’s Republic said on Thursday citing the republic’s Defense Minister Igor Strelkov.

The battle is raging near the villages of Marynivka and Dubrovka, the press office said. The militia’s casualties include about 50 people, “mostly wounded fighters", and also two tanks, two fighting infantry vehicles and one armored personnel carrier while enemy losses “are several times greater”, Strelkov was quoted as saying.

He said the enemy had sustained large losses in manpower. Heavy losses were inflicted on the Azov National Guard battalion that had arrived in the region, Strelkov said. “The enemy is strongly demoralized,” he noted. “The enemy managed to successfully attack the militia forces in the area of Ilovaisk, using a subversive and reconnaissance group. Due to the carelessness of some commanders, three self-defense fighters were killed and other two were wounded,” Strelkov said.

“However, the attack was repelled with losses for the enemy. We estimate that the attack on our position with the use of APCs has cost the enemy seven deaths, and about the same number of its soldiers was wounded,” Strelkov said. Battles are continuing behind the village of Blahodatnoye north of Amvrosiivka. The enemy launched a second attack on the village with the support of four tanks and four APCs, the press office of the Donetsk People’s Republic said.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the south-eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled south-east.