UKRAINE

Ukrainian National Guard troops flee siege in Luhansk as ammunition runs out

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 9:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 9:37pm
AP

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Ukraine's National Guard said yesterday its forces abandoned a military outpost in the eastern city of Luhansk after running out of ammunition in a 10-hour battle with pro-Russian militants.

Officials said six militants were killed and three Ukrainian servicemen injured in fighting overnight. The rebels attacked the National Guard unit with machine guns, mortars and grenade launchers.

The insurgents also wounded at least 42 soldiers and shot down two helicopters, said government spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov.

Interim president Oleksandr Turchynov told lawmakers "a large number of terrorists" were "liquidated" in Luhansk. He ordered the government to study the option of imposing martial law in Donetsk and Luhansk.

At least 181 people have been killed since unrest broke out in eastern Ukraine, Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitsky said. They include 59 soldiers, one of them a general whose helicopter was shot down last week. Another 293 people have been wounded and 220 kidnapped, he said.

The fighting in Ukraine's east has escalated following the May 25 presidential election won by billionaire Petro Poroshenko.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops on Tuesday launched an offensive against pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern city of Slavyansk. Two government soldiers were killed and 42 injured.

Associated Press, Bloomberg