Ukraine, Rebels Both Claim to Control Donetsk Airport

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Associated Press

Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian supervision infantry fought pitched battles Monday for control of Donetsk airport, while residential areas circuitously were held in complete crossfire.

The airport, reduced to a bumbling mutilate by months of complicated fighting, has been a epicenter of hostilities due to a mystic significance and vital plcae on a corner of a categorical rebel-controlled city.

The airfield has turn a pitch of Ukrainian fight bravery and a detriment would be a vital blow to inhabitant pride.

The rebels contend they have entirely seized a airfield in new fighting, though Ukrainian officials reject a claim. They contend Ukrainian infantry are still holding out in a disadvantage of a new terminal, a steel-and-glass showcase for a UEFA Euro 2012 soccer championship hosted by Ukraine.

Three Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 66 bleeding in a prior 24 hours, infantry orator Andriy Lysenko told reporters, though he would not contend how many of those casualties occurred during a airport.

On Monday, a rebels blew adult partial of a new terminal, wounding many Ukrainian infantry with debris, Yuriy Biryukov, an confidant to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, wrote on his Facebook account. He pronounced some bleeding soldiers were evacuated from a airfield though did not contend how many infantry remained.

It was unfit exclusively to establish whose army were now in control of several sections of a airport.

In a prolonged term, a supervision fears a separatists could use a airfield to enhance their control over eastern Ukraine, bypassing limit controls and formulating an atmosphere supply track with Russia.

The separatists increasing a stakes final week by successfully holding over vast sections of a airfield before a Ukrainians unleashed a counter-offensive.

“All attempts of a Ukrainian army to take a airfield and to get punish for a better of a final year… have failed,” insurgent personality Alexander Zakharchenko told reporters Monday in Donetsk. He indicted Ukraine of regulating rocket and artillery glow with an power that insurgent army had “never gifted before.”

Lysenko, however, pronounced a weekend fighting had returned control over a airfield to a military.

The city of Donetsk was jarred by complicated artillery glow over a weekend as a airfield conflict raged. On Monday, a bombard strike a city’s Central Clinical Hospital No. 3, floating out windows though causing no deaths. All a patients were evacuated to other hospitals. Sporadic explosions were also listened Monday from a instruction of a airport.

Lysenko pronounced according to September’s cease-fire understanding in September, a airfield was to be left underneath Ukrainian supervision control. Russia and a separatists brawl this.

The U.N. estimates some-more than 4,700 people have been killed in a fighting in eastern Ukraine given April.

Ukraine and a West have indicted Russia of assisting a rebels in a easterly with infantry and weapons. Moscow has denied a charge, though concurred that some Russians have assimilated a insurgents.

In Brussels, European Union unfamiliar ministers ruled out any easing of a sanctions imposed on Russia for a actions in Ukraine. Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders pronounced Monday a fighting around Donetsk airfield showed “this is no time to speak about a easing of sanctions.”

Russia has shown “no domestic will, no transformation on a ground, so no reason to change policy,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevicius said.


Dmitry Vlasov in Kiev, Ukraine; Raf Casert in Brussels and Lynn Berry and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

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