Kiev’s troops had to leave the eastern Ukrainian city of Novoazovsk to save their lives, said the country’s Security and Defense Council. The authorities admitted that self-defense forces are advancing and leading a counteroffensive in the southeast.
Along with Novoazovsk, Kiev troops have lost control over the villages of Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo in the Donetsk Region of Eastern Ukraine.
According to Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council, on Wednesday Kiev’s troops were shelled by Grad rocket launchers and then attacked by two military columns of self-defense troops.
The columns included tanks and armored infantry vehicles.
“Later in the afternoon two Russian columns entered Novoazovsk,” the council said in a statement.
Now Kiev’s forces are reinforcing their defenses in the city of Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine.
— RT (@RT_com) August 28, 2014
The council added that self-defense troops had a BM-27 Uragan multiple rocket launcher system near the village of Holodnoe, 17 kilometers from Novoazovsk. However, there is no confirmation of this report.
“The situation in the area of the anti-terrorist operation worsened in the last 24 hours,” said Ukraine’s National Security Council spokesman Andrey Lysenko.
He added that on the other parts of anti-terrorist operation zone there is “active fighting” in Lugansk Region (suburbs of Lugansk, and the villages of Novosvetlovka and Khryashchevatoye) and Donetsk Region (the cities of Ilovaisk, Marinka, Starobeshevo, Elenovka).
Self-defense forces said that several tanks from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) entered the city of Novoazovsk on Wednesday.
“The DPR tanks entered Novoazovsk and camped in the city’s western suburbs. The offensive is successfully advancing,” said a statement from the republic’s HQ.
Self-defense troops added that they “took control of checkpoints in the suburbs of [Novoazovsk] as well as the bridge over the Gruzskiy Elanchik River.”
According to the militia, Kiev’s forces were leaving Novoazovsk overnight in the direction of the southeastern city of Mariupol, in the Donetsk Region.
On Wednesday, all 400 soldiers from the Ukrainian“Prikarpatie” 5th Battalion laid down their arms and surrendered from the area of the so-called anti-terrorist operation in the country’s east, Ukraine’s TSN TV Channel reported.
They headed home with their military equipment, saying that they would return it to base.
The soldiers say that they “were in hell” after they came under heavy artillery for two months, Ukrainskaya Pravda reported.
Also on Wednesday, a group of 62 Ukrainian troops crossed into Russia’s Rostov Region, seeking refuge from the conflict, a spokesman for the FSB's border guard service in the Rostov Region, Nikolay Sinitsyn, told Itar-Tass news agency.
Wednesday’s incidents were the latest in a series of similar cases. A total of over 500 Ukrainian troops have crossed into Russia since July seeking refuge and medical assistance.
Donetsk under heavy shelling again. @ruptly stringer's house was just hit by a shell. Windows were blown out.
— Ruptly Newsroom (@RuptlyNewsroom) August 28, 2014
On Thursday, Ukrainian forces shelled the city of Donetsk, using a 120mm mortar, and at least 15 people were injured in the attack, Konstantin Knyrik, the head of the South-Eastern Front, told Interfax. Several houses, including a shop and a warehouse were destroyed in the shelling.
The many casualties of the conflict - covered body in front of bus stop. pic.twitter.com/cAPOdtO5x4
— PaulaSlier_RT (@PaulaSlier_RT) August 28, 2014
Earlier, Donetsk City Council reported that 16 civilians had been killed and 22 injured in the last 24 hours.