Ukraine’s military said its forces killed as many as 200 rebels in fighting in Donetsk as dozens of tanks and other military vehicles crossed the border into Ukraine from Russia.
“Insurgents who were shelling Ukrainian troop positions at Donetsk Airport yesterday were killed by government troop artillery strikes,” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said on Facebook. “Four separatist tanks, two armored personnel carriers, two howitzers, and an infantry combat vehicle were destroyed, and up to 200 insurgents were killed.”
The death toll, which couldn’t be independently confirmed, is the biggest reported number of troops or fighters killed during repeated breaches of a Sept. 5 truce. Earlier, the Ukrainian government said it had suffered more than 100 killed and about 600 wounded since the cease-fire came into force.
As tensions between the former Soviet republics threatened to escalate into open war, Ukraine’s army is preparing “for an adequate reaction,” military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters in Kiev today. He said pro-Russian rebel shelling of government troops with surface-to-surface grad missiles, mortars and artillery had killed five soldiers and wounded 16 in the last 24 hours.