MOSCOW, July 11 (RIA Novosti) – Luhansk militia will soon have its own air force, the leader of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Luhansk, Valeriy Bolotov said.
“During one of our operations, I will not specify the location, a SU-25 plane and armored vehicles, including a T-62, were captured, which I think will help us in the near future,” Bolotov said in an interview with Rossiya-24 TV channel.
According to Bolotov, the militia forces are currently repairing and modernizing the captured armor and aircraft.
“There is basically no damage. Pilots that are members of our defense forces are now examining and refueling it, and in the near future, I think any day now, we will have fully-featured aviation,” Bolotov stated.
The leader added that the militia already possesses heavy guns, Grad rocket launchers seized from Ukrainian troops, air defense systems and anti-tank weaponry.
“We have replenished our ammunition quite well now, and are basically ready not only to repel attacks, but also to launch offensives,” Bolotov added.
Speaking of the defense forces’ head count the leader said officially about 5,000 men have been recruited, but there are believed to be up to ten thousand people in units across the region.
Last Saturday, independence supporters were forced to retreat from the cities of Slaviansk and Kramatorsk as government troops announced they had gained control over two-thirds of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Deputy head of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, Mykhailo Koval, stated that the country’s special services are planning to set up a complete blockade of Donetsk and Luhansk in order to force independence supporters to lay down their arms.
Military actions have been ongoing in the southeast of Ukraine since mid-April, when Kiev authorities launched a special operation in a crackdown on independence supporters. The violence intensified after the Luhansk and Donetsk regions declared independence from Ukraine in May.