30 Insurgents Killed in Eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian Rebel Says

Ukrainian government forces said to be using jets, helicopters and gunships against pro-Russia rebels in restive Donetsk.

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Pro-Russian gunmen take positions near the airport, outside Donetsk, Ukraine, on May 26, 2014.
Pro-Russian gunmen take positions near the airport, outside Donetsk, Ukraine, on May 26, 2014. Credit: AP

At least 30 bodies of killed fighters have been brought to a hospital following a day of heavy fighting in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, in which government forces used combat jets, helicopters and gunships against pro-Russia rebels, an insurgent said Tuesday.

The rebel fighter, who wouldn't give his name because of security concerns, said outside the hospital in Donetsk that 30 bodies of his fellow insurgents were delivered there.

He said the truck carrying the bodies was still parked outside the hospital, waiting for explosives experts to check for any unexploded ordinance.

Sustained artillery and gun fire had been heard from the airport in Donetsk, a city of one million, on Monday. Fighter jets and military helicopters were seen flying overhead and dense black smoke rose in the air. Many flights to or from Donetsk were delayed or canceled and access to the airport was blocked by police.

The airstrikes against the separatists in control of Donetsk airport appeared to be the most visible government military operation yet since it started a crackdown on insurgents last month.

Monday's battle came just as billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko claimed victory in Sunday's presidential vote. Poroshenko has vowed to negotiate a peaceful end to an insurgency in the east, where rebels have seized government offices and fought Ukrainian troops for more than a month. Yet he described the separatists as "Somali pirates."

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