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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 340
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Report Claims More Than 20 Russian And Separatist Fighters Killed In Failed Attacks On Ukrainian Positions Near Airport
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"Donetsk People's Republic" Won't Take Prisoners Anymore?

There are reports that two columns of Russian and separatist fighters have been destroyed today after they moved on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk Airport.

Yuriy Biryukov, an adviser to President Poroshenko, wrote on his Facebook page that, at dawn today, two trucks carrying personnel and several MT-12 anti-tank guns, escorted by BMPs and BTRs, approached Ukrainian positions.

We note that Biryukov says that the Russian-backed force was moving to assault Donetsk Airport, however, since the main position at the new terminal has now fallen, we can only assume this refers to positions on the northern or western perimeters of the airfield.

The Russian, pro-separatist militarymaps.info still claims that a radar station, just north of the runway, is still under Ukrainian control. This site meanwhile claims that Peski has almost entirely fallen to Russian-backed forces, something we have not seen supporting evidence of so far. The most recent map from the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council claims Peski, while under attack, is still in Ukrainian hands.

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We note that in Biryukov's photos from today, windbreaks are visible running perpendicular to a road with arrow markings.

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The only route we can see that runs perpendicular to windbreaks in the immediate area, and that has such markings visible on Google Earth images (as of September last year), is the bypass road running between Peski and the M04 highway.

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It seems likely then that the engagement took place somewhere along this route, though we cannot say for sure.

With the convoy detected by Ukrainian scouts, artillery fire was brought to bear. According to Biryukov, the advance was halted and, after two hours of shelling, during which he claims the enemy fighters "dug their own graves," the column was destroyed.

The presidential adviser claimed that more than 20 Russian and separatist fighters had been killed and around a dozen taken prisoner. After receiving first aid, they were, he wrote, being interrogated.

Biryukov said that he and other activists had been asked by the ATO command to gather evidence at the site, and that a journalist from the Los Angeles Times was also on the scene.

He posted photos of knocked out vehicles, dead fighters, Russian rations, and military identity cards for both the Russian Federation and the 'Donetsk People's Republic.'

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-- Pierre Vaux