Columns of retreating self-defense fighters with their families came under fire with a woman and a girl wounded, reports Donetsk People’s Republic adviser to the Minister of Defense, Igor Druz.
“Forgetting the order to comply with the blackout order the, some of the drivers went out without covering up taillights. Therefore the enemy was able to disclose our position. The tail of our column was shelled with a Grad multiple rocket launcher system (MRLS),” RIA Novosti cites Druz as saying.
According to him, two people of the families the militia fighters took with them were wounded. “A woman and a girl suffered injuries during the hit,” said Druz. The previous day, around two thousand self-defense fighters left Slavyansk and Kramatorsk on the north of the region, retreating to Donetsk and Gorlovka. After that Ukrainian troops occupied these cities and are now trying to advance the attack to the south.
Ukrainian troops conducted missile attacks on the suburbs of Lugansk, a fire alarm sounds in the town, reports the press service of the Donetsk People’s Republic in its microblog on Twitter, RIA Novosti reported.
Besides, as reported the representatives of self-defense forces, confrontation between Ukrainian task forces and self-defenders has resumed after 19.00 (20.00 MSK), near the village of Metallist near Lugansk. The situation in Lugansk remains calm.
Before 19.30 (20.30 MSK) fired alarm turned on and there was heard a heavy aircraft, flying above Lugansk. On Sunday, the mayor of Lugansk adressed to the residents asking them not to leave their homes in spite of the aggravation of situation in the city ..
Ukrainian military today launched an artillery strike against residential districts of Lugansk, according to the representatives of the Lugansk People’s Republic. They also say that reportedly the Ukrainian armed forces used “Grad” multiple rocket launcher systems to carry out the strike.
“Several buildings are on fire, there are many ambulances in the streets. Eyewitnesses say that shells hit the Accumulator factory located not far from the bus terminal,” the city militia’s representatives say.
“The civilians rush to the nearest bomb shelters or seek to flee the area.”
One civilian was killed and four were wounded as a result of this attack.
Self-defense volunteer fighters of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have clashed with Ukrainian troops for control over the Saur-Mogila hill in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, the RIA Novosti news agency reports citing the DPR forces’ command. Saur-Mogila, a strategically important height, was the scene of bitter fighting between Soviet troops and Hitler’s forces during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45.
The Saur-Mogila war memorial is as sacred for Donbass as Mamayev Kurgan for Volgograd (former Stalingrad).
In June, Donetsk People’s Republic forces repelled an airborne assault on Saur-Mogila and took eight Ukrainian paratroopers prisoner.
“Sour-Mogila is a strategic height shielding roads from Donetsk to the Lugansk region and Russia. We are controlling it now, but Ukrainian troops are trying to capture it,” a militia member told RIA Novosti.
The Kiev authorities are arresting all men aged from 25 to 35 in Ukraine’s southeastern city of Slavyansk, not bothering to find out whether they were members of self-defense forces or not, speaker of the parliament of the Union of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics Oleg Tsarev told the Russia 24 television channel on Sunday.
“Overnight, they arrested all policemen and took them out of the city. They are arresting all young men aged from 25 to 35, not even trying to find out whether these men took to arms or not. Searches are underway. They are trying to find those who helped take care of the wounded,” he said, TASS reports.
Oleg Tsarev said the militia would stand ready to rebuff attacks if Ukrainian law enforcement contingents launch an assault on Donetsk.
“The militia has left Slavyansk and is now located in Donetsk which has become the center of the republic’s defense. We do not rule out Ukrainian law enforcement contingents’ assault, and we will be ready to rebuff the attack,” Tsarev told Interfax.
He described the militia’s pullout from Slavyansk as “a moral victory.”
“It is the militia’s absolute moral victory. The militia left Slavyansk on its own, not as a result of the enemy’s offensive. Now that the militia has reached Donetsk it has no problems getting supplies and ammunition. It is not a retreat. It is redeployment,” he said.
Fighting has resumed on the outskirts of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, the RIA Novosti news agency reports citing local residents. Sounds of shooting have been heard near Yasnogorsk not far from Kramatorsk. Earlier, self-defense fighters retreated from Slavyansk and Kramatorsk to Donetsk and Gorlovka but warned that small fighting squads and subversive groups would stay on.
Ukrainian artillery fired several rounds at the villages of Nikolayevka and Serversk near Slavyansk, where self-defense fighters could possibly be hiding.
A bomb went off outside a food shop in the Cherevkovka district of Slavyansk. It’s unclear if there were any casualties.
Having occupied Slavyansk, Ukrainian troops started checking locals for suspected loyalty to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
The press office of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic also reports, that Ukrainian armed forces and self-defense militia exchanged mortar fire as armed clashes continued last night near the Lugansk airport controlled by the Ukrainian law-enforcers.
Combat operations are also continuing near the settlements of Mettalist and Krasny Yar, as well as near the Izvarino checkpoint which is controlled by the local self-defense militia, the press office said.
Kiev authorities launched a military operation to suppress independence supporters in eastern regions of Ukraine in mid-April. The fighting intensified after a brief ceasefire in late June was not extended. The operation has claimed hundreds of lives and made thousands flee from southeastern Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly condemned Kiev’s actions and urged to establish peace in the region.
The Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Strelkov, has given some details of how self-defense fighters fought their way out of Slavyansk and has launched defense preparations in Donetsk. “We broke through an almost complete encirclement. We diverted the enemy’s attention by a feigned attack,” Strelkov said in an interview posted on incorpus.ru. website.
Some of those who carried out the attack were killed, he said, but 90% of the fighters and 90% of the hardware safely pulled out of Slavyansk.
He said he had information about Ukrainian troops’ behavior in Slavyansk.
“We are confronted by real fascists in the true meaning of that word the way our forefathers understood it. They are using the idea of single Ukraine as a shield to commit ethnic cleansings,” Strelkov said.
He voiced plans to continue fighting and to prepare Donetsk for active defense.
“Donetsk is better suited for defense than small Slavyansk,” he said.
A central military council will be formed “to coordinate the further defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic and maybe also part of the Lugansk People’s Republic,” Strelkov said.