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Ukraine: 13 Troops Dead in Attack

...the attackers hit an ammunition section in one of the vehicles, which exploded in a fireball.

Published: May 23, 2014 (Issue # 1812)



  • Zinaida Patskan, 80, stands in front of her destroyed house following a shelling from Ukrainian government forces in Semyonovka village near the major highway, which links Kharkiv, outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, Thursday.
    Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

BLAHODATNE, Ukraine (AP) Three days before Ukraine holds a key presidential vote, pro-Russia insurgents attacked a military checkpoint Thursday in eastern Ukraine, killing 13 troops in the deadliest raid yet in weeks of fighting, Ukraines leader said.

A rebel group who claimed responsibility for the attack said one of its own was also killed.

The rebels attacked the checkpoint near the town of Volnovakha, firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said.

AP journalists saw 11 dead Ukrainian soldiers scattered in a field near the village of Blahodatne, outside Volnovakha, 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of the major city of Donetsk.

Witnesses including a medical worker said over 30 other Ukrainian troops were wounded in the attack and some of them were in grave condition. All the wounded were being treated at nearby medical facilities.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the attackers hit an ammunition section in one of the vehicles, which exploded in a fireball.

Three charred Ukrainian armored infantry vehicles, their turrets blown away, and several burned trucks stood at the road site in Blahodatne. Scorched bodies, apparently burned by the explosion and fire, were scattered near the vehicles.

Acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk blamed Russia for backing the rebels in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which have declared independence from the government in Kiev. He issued a call for an urgent session of the U.N. Security Council.

Thursdays carnage cast a shadow over Ukraines upcoming presidential vote on Sunday, which separatists in the east have pledged to derail. Authorities in Kiev see the vote as a chance to defuse tensions and stabilize the country. Even so, they have admitted it will be impossible to stage the vote in some eastern areas where election officials and voters have faced intimidation and sometimes death threats from the rebels.

Residents said attackers used an armored bank truck, which the unsuspecting Ukrainian soldiers waved through, and then mowed them down at point-blank range. Their account couldnt be independently confirmed.

In the town of Horlivka, a masked rebel commander claimed responsibility for the raid and showed an array of seized Ukrainian weapons. There was no way to independently confirm his claim.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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