Eastern Ukraine offensive heats up: 300 pro-Russian rebels reportedly killed, 500 wounded
By End the Lie
The Ukrainian government reports massive casualties in their continued offensive in eastern Ukraine, with 300 pro-Russian separatists killed and 500 wounded over the last 24 hours alone.
The large numbers are contested by the rebels themselves, who claim that the losses on the side of the Ukrainian government actually exceed theirs, according to Reuters.
“Reports of 300 dead are not true. Losses to the Ukrainian side were more than ours,” said Aleksandr Boroday, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, according to Interfax.
The official body count was also questioned by CNN’s Tim Lister, reporting from Donetsk, though CNN said they “could not immediately confirm” the reports from the government and the separatists.
Lister said the government’s account is questionable because confirming such a body count would be “incredibly difficult” given the fighting.
“It would be a dramatic escalation on anything we’ve ever seen before,” Lister said.
Vladyslav Seleznyov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian government forces, said only two servicemen were killed and 45 wounded in the fighting near Slovyansk that has included using aircraft, helicopters and artillery.
Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-declared mayor of Slovyansk, said pro-Russia rebels shot down two Ukrainian jets and destroyed a tank and four armored personnel carriers, according to CNN.
The campaign to oust the separatist fighters entered its second straight day in and around Slovyansk on Wednesday and involved artillery and automatic weapons.
Residents have been forced to flee the eastern town, according to Reuters, which has remained a separatist stronghold.
Boroday told a news conference in the town of Donetsk that his group will mobilize their forces to train volunteers to fight the government in Slovyansk and Donetsk.
“We have information that a storming of the city of Donetsk is being prepared by enemy forces and we are being forced to take measures such as mobilization of volunteers,” Boroday said.