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Ukrainian troops had 24 hours to withdraw from Donetsk airport — DPR official

Only the most staunch idea-driven are staying, there is no exact information on how many of them are there, a military adviser to the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic told TASS

DONETSK, January 16. /TASS/. Ukrainian troops were given a possibility to safely withdraw from the Donetsk airport within 24 hours, Valentin Matuzenko, a military adviser to the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told TASS on Friday.

“We opened up a corridor for the Ukrainian military and some have taken advantage of that. Only the most staunch idea-driven are staying. We have no exact information on how many of them are there,” he said.

Matuzenko said that combat operation unleashed at the Donetsk airport a day after had been provoked by the Ukrainian side. “A mine from their territory hit a DPR munitions depot. Servicemen were killed. This incident triggered the operation,” he noted.

On Wednesday, January 14, Denis Pushilin, DPR’s representative in the Contact Group for peace settlement in Ukraine, said the DPR self-defense forces had opened up a corridor to the Ukrainian military’s withdrawal from the Donetsk airport. Pushilin stressed that this was done to avoid casualties. “It was not an operation to squeeze out the Ukrainian troops from the airport, it was a “good will gesture” on the part of the DPR,” he said. “We are doing our best to save the lives of the Ukrainian military, for we want no casualties even on their part.”

On Friday, the Donetsk News Agency said, citing the DPR defense ministry that all Ukrainian troops had withdrawn from the territory of the Donetsk international airport. “There are no Ukrainian servicemen at the new terminal of the airport. They have abandoned their positions and have withdrawn seeing no point in further resistance,” the ministry said.

The DPR defense ministry said on Friday morning the DPR militias had established control over the airport.