2014-10-21 10:14:00

Ukraine: parliament receives report on fighting in east

(Vatican Radio)-- A report by Ukraine's parliament has for the first time revealed the scale of a defeat suffered by the army, saying hundreds of soldiers died in fighting against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. More than 300 soldiers were killed in a massive setback in the army's campaign to crush pro-Russian rebels in the east, the report said. Experts claim the ultimate number of servicemen lost may be even greater. Critics say the mentioned bloodshed in the city of Ilovaisk was a result of disastrous leadership.

Click below for the report from correspondent Stefan Bos

In Ilovaisk city, government troops sustained heavy losses of life in August when they tried to flee the area. They were targeted by by rocket and artillery fire as they fled in columns. Reporters counted more than 30 destroyed Ukrainian military vehicles around the city after the battle. The Defence minister in command of the battle resigned last week.  


Yet the parliamentary inquiry into the Ilovaisk battle suggested that the government has refused to cooperate at a time when the country prepares for general elections on Sunday. It said that neither the Defense Ministry nor the General Staff has responded to queries from the investigating committee about losses in the armed forces. News of the massive death toll came while Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed frustration over the ongoing fighting. Speaking in Slovakia she said "there's a long way to a cease-fire, unfortunately."

Civilians have been suffering as well, with German magazine Der Spiegel reporting that Germany’s foreign intelligence agency concluded that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was downed in Ukraine by Russian-armed rebels. They allegedly used a Russian Buk missile defence system from a Ukrainian base, killing all 298 people on board. 


Moscow has denied involvement and has questioned allegations that Russian-armed rebels were involved.

Russian military expert military expert Igor Korotchenko claimed in an interview that the West was behind the incident.

He said “Allegations that the Malaysian plane was shot down with a Buk missile system proves that the western intelligence agencies have no doubts who stands behind this crime. However for political reasons they cannot admit this version.”

At the same time, shelling continues daily in the region. On Monday, a powerful explosion shook the largest rebel-controlled city of Donetsk damaging numerous buildings including the Shakhtar Donetsk football club were damaged as a result.

Witnesses also spoke of an explosion at a rubber processing factory used to create components for ammunition which was answered by outgoing rockets fire from the city. The United Nations says at least nearly 3,700 people have died in the ongoing conflict. 

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