DONETSK, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - Militia released over 223 captives to Kiev early Sunday morning, the Donetsk People’s Republic said in a statement.
“Early Sunday morning, 223 captives of the Ukrainian Army and National Guard were passed to the Ukrainian side during a ceasefire provided by the militia,” the statement said.
According to the statement, self-defense forces destroyed two tanks and two infantry fighting vehicles of the National Guard during a fighting near Starobeshevo village in the south-east of Donetsk Region. At least 198 Ukrainian service recruits were disarmed. In the course of militia counter offensive, the Ukrainian Army left the villages of Orikhivka and Shovkova Protoka in southeastern Ukraine. Militia forces entrenched in the outskirts of Fabrychne and Petro-Mykolaivka villages.
Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against the southeastern regions of Ukraine that refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government after a February coup.
Moscow has repeatedly condemned Kiev’s military campaign against independence supporters in the east of the country and urged for an immediate stop to the punitive operation, advocating a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
Over 2,500 people, including the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash, have been killed and more than 6,000 injured since the start of Kiev’s military operation against the militias in eastern Ukraine in mid-April, according to the United Nations.