Ukraine’s Health Ministry said 478 citizens were killed in the east since the anti-terrorist operation started in mid-April. Over 1,392 people have been injured.
“I can say that 1,392 people, including 104 women and 14 children, have been injured,” Deputy Health Minister Vasyl Lazoryshynets said. He stated that “478 were killed. They include 30 women and seven children,” adding, “These are civilians.”
Three more Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 27 wounded on Thursday after clashes with pro-Russian forces. The forces still hold Donetsk and Luhansk, even though Ukraine forced out pro-Russians in Slaviansk last weekend. Kiev said one soldier was killed Wednesday night near Luhansk after his truck was ambushed by pro-Russians with machine guns. Two others were killed when their truck hit a land mine around Donetsk.
The recapture of Slaviansk boosted President Petro Poroshenko’s confidence, and he is determined to win the east. Reuters reports:
Poroshenko has ruled out air strikes and artillery bombardment because of the large civilian population in Donetsk.
His military nonetheless say they have a plan to deliver a “nasty surprise” to the rebels and “liberate” Donetsk and Luhansk. The separatists are occupying administrative buildings in the two cities and have dug into positions on the outskirts of Donetsk.