The Ukrainian government and the leaders and families of volunteer battalions fighting in Ilovaisk are clashing over claims that Ukrainian reinforcements have arrived to relieve the beleaguered volunteers, who have been fighting a bloody and costly battle for control of the town.
Earlier, Semyon Semyonchenko, the commander of the Donbass battalion, who was himself wounded in a mortar attack in Ilovaisk, wrote on his Facebook page that his fighters would wait no more and that reinforcements were not coming. He endorsed a protest today outside the presidential administration in Kiev and said that he would make an announcement later on another protest to be held tomorrow outside the headquarters of the General Staff.
Meanwhile, Andrei Lysenko, the spokesman for the Ukrainian National Defence and Security Council (SNBO), told reporters that help had arrived in Ilovaisk.
Ukrainska Pravda reports on the contrasting statements (translated by The Interpreter):
The SNBO insists that military assistance has for Ukrainian volunteer battalions has arrived just outside Ilovaisk.
This was announced by the spokesman for the SNBO Infocentre, Andrei Lyenko, at a briefing at 17:00 on Wednesday. He said that, 15 minutes before the briefing, he had been on the phone with fighters, located near Ilovaisk.
"The guys say that counter-attacks are being mounted. But they have ammunition, they have backup and artillery has been brought up along with additional forces helping to push back the counter-attacking militants. The operation to finally liberate the town from the militants is now under way. Active combat operations are ongoing," said Lysenko.Meanwhile the commander of the Donbass battalion, Semyon Semyonchenkok, said Lysenko's words were untrue.
Semyonchenko wrote on his Facebook page (translated by The Interpreter):
I'm watching the press conference of the ATO spokesman right now, who called a guy in Ilovaisk and help arrived there. I understand, the man is bound, the officer reads what is written. But I cannot do that. I'm also an officer, but of some other kind apparently.
In short. What was said was not true. Almost everything. Full stop. The rest is on your conscience dear generals. Tomorrow at 10:00 in front of the General Staff. And all you fabulists can go to... Only your fairy tales are more like horror films.
Semyonchenko addressed protesters outside the presidential administration in Kiev today via phone.