The Ukrainian military said Saturday it had allegedly destroyed up to 40 enemy armored vehicles and 500 independence supporters near Luhansk in the country’s east, according to its Interior Ministry.
Four months of Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” operation (ATO) in the region have killed an estimated 2,000 people and wounded more than 5,000, UN reports say. Hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced, with many most refugees fleeing across the border to Russia.
“A high-precision artillery strike of ATO forces destroyed up to 40 armored vehicles and three surface-to-air missile systems Strela 10,” the statement cited Ukrainian interior minister's adviser Zorian Shkiriak as saying.
The ministry said clashes had broken out between pro-Kiev forces and militia troops outside Rovenky, a city of some 48,000 located 60 kilometers (more than 37 miles) from the regional capital Luhansk.
The operation has been under way since mid-April following Crimea’s secession from Ukraine. Hundreds have been killed in and around Luhansk as a result of the Ukrainian Army’s indiscriminate shelling, with mortar rounds falling all across the city.
Luhansk has been without running water, electricity and phone communications for 20 days as government troops continue to besiege it.
On Friday, a humanitarian aid convoy from Russia rolled into eastern Ukraine after being checked by Ukrainian customs officials. A total of 280 trucks delivered grain, baby food, water, medicine and generators to Ukraine’s easternmost region, including its key city Luhansk.