Ukrainian Troops Retake Donetsk Airport

Ukrainian Troops Retake Donetsk Airport

Ukrainian troops launched a “mass operation” overnight, retaking almost all the territory of Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine lost to separatists in recent weeks, even as thousands gathered in Kiev for a peace march on Sunday.
Residents reported intensified outgoing shelling including from residential areas in central parts of the separatist-held city.
With attempts to restart peace talks stalled, pro-Russian rebels have stepped up attacks in the past week and casualties have mounted, including the deaths of 13 civilians in an attack on a passenger bus, which Kiev has blamed on the separatists, Reuters reported.
The separatists had gained control of new areas of the airport and retaking much of this territory was a symbolic victory for Kiev, whom rebels have accused of escalating the conflict.
“The decision was taken for a mass operation ... We succeeded in almost completely cleaning the territory of the airport, which belongs to the territory of Ukrainian forces as marked by military separation lines,” military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing.
Lysenko said the operation had returned the battle lines near the airport to the previous status quo and that the Ukrainian army had thus not violated the Minsk 12-point peace plan agreed with Russia and separatist leaders last September.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko underlined the need to fight for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, as he addressed a crowd of several thousand gathered for a peace march in memory of those killed on the passenger bus.
“We will not give away one scrap of Ukrainian land. We will get back the Donbass ... and show that a very important aspect of our victory is our unity,” he said.


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