Kyiv, July 27, 2014. Since the beginning of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) the Ukrainian military freed 2/3 of the area which was previously under the control of the pro-Russian terrorists. Such statement was released by Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesperson for the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Information Centre during today’s press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Ukrainian troops continue the planned attack of the territory seized by the terrorists; fighting continues in the areas of Debaltseve and Pervomaiske, he said. Ukrainian units destroyed eight military vehicles and about 20 terrorists, noted Lysenko.
Despite the successful offensive by the ATO forces, the situation on the border with the Russian Federation remains tense. In the last 24 hours the terrorists have fired upon 31 block-posts and at the positions of Ukrainian Armed Forces near Luhansk, Nova Petrivka, Avdiivka, Oleksandrivka, Marynivka, Debal’tsevo, Horlivka, Marianivka, Kozhevnya, Andriivka, Starobeshevo, Kamyshuvaha, Myrna Dolyna, Stukalova Balka, Dibrovka, Chervonopartyzansk, Hryhorivka.
The NSDC spokesperson also said that Russia continues to increase its military presence on the border with Ukraine. Yesterday, the Armed Forces of Ukraine recorded the movement of two columns including 28 vehicles, 8 tanks, 10 IFVs and 9 artillery cannons that were moving toward the border town of Gukovo in Russia. According to Andriy Lysenko two battalions of mercenaries from Chechnya have arrived to Rostov for further transfer to Ukraine. Russian military aviation continues air surveillance of the Ukrainian border regions, said Ukrainian official.
Trying to keep the situation in Donetsk under control and to intimidate the local population, the terrorists’ tanks, posing as Ukrainian military, fired upon residential areas. Notably, information was received that two tanks with Ukrainian state symbols were moving along the streets and firing upon the residential buildings. Because of the recent success of the Ukrainian Armed Forces the terrorists are forced to regroup. They also try to replenish their troops through the forced mobilization of the local population, noted the NSDC official.
“When retreating, the terrorists use the tactics of scorched earth. They do not just destroy the infrastructure, but also plant explosives in the most important life support systems and utility facilities of the civilian population,” reported the NSDC spokesperson. Thus, yesterday, July 26 at 15:10 the terrorists blew up a railway bridge at the Donetsk-Avdiivka station. Reportedly, there were no victims.
The NSDC spokesman also reported that the terrorists captured an orphanage in the city of Luhansk. According to preliminary data the gunmen seized 19 employees and 61 children. “They plan to move kids to Russia,” said Andriy Lysenko.
Soon after the city of Lysychansk was freed from the terrorists the electric power in the hospital has been restored and local population received humanitarian assistance, reported Andriy Lysenko. In the last 24 hours one soldier was killed and 35 got wounded. Since the beginning of ATO, 332 Ukrainian defenders were killed and 1293 were wounded.
With regard to the recent tragedy of the “BOEING 777” aircraft of Malaysian airlines, the NSDC official reported that yesterday two aircrafts with 38 bodies of the crash victims on board left Kharkov for the Netherlands. Since the beginning to the rescue operation 227 bodies have already been transported to the Netherlands.
After being asked whether Ukrainian authorities would cooperate with other states (U.S. for example – Ed.), that are willing to help stabilize the situation in the east of Ukraine, Colonel Lysenko gave a favorable response.