Ukraine conflict: Many soldiers dead in ‘rocket strike’

A rocket strike in the east Ukrainian region of Luhansk has killed at least 19 soldiers, Ukrainian officials say, blaming it on separatist rebels.

They said rebels had fired a barrage of Grad rockets at troops in Zelenopillya, a village near the Russian border.

The pro-Russian rebels say they “destroyed a column” of troops there.

Ukraine’s defence ministry put at 23 the number of troops killed in clashes in the past 24 hours. Nineteen of them died in the Grad attack, it said.

The ministry spokesman, Volodymyr Seleznyov, also said 93 troops had been wounded. Earlier media reports about the rocket strike, which spoke of up to 30 killed, were inaccurate, he said.

Russian-made Grad rockets are heavy artillery weapons fired in batches from trucks. Both the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces use them.

On Thursday night the rebels shelled Ukrainian troops at Donetsk airport.

The rebels have regrouped in Donetsk as the Ukrainian military has retaken territory in the country’s east. The rebels have not yet broken through to the airport.

The figure of up to 30 dead in the Zelenopillya rocket attack came from Zoryan Shkyryak, an adviser to Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. He described the destruction was “really heavy”.

A motorised brigade from Lviv, western Ukraine, was targeted in the rocket attack, the Ukrainian news website Unian reports.

BBC has the full article

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