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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, Ukraine’s 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.

Thursday’s carnage cast a shadow over Ukraine’s 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 couldn’t 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, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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