Pro-Russians allow trapped Ukrainian troops to escape

Pro-Russians allow trapped Ukrainian troops to escape

Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:19AM GMT
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/08/29/376951/trapped-ukraine-troops-allowed-to-escape/

A leader of pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine says he has agreed to allow the government forces trapped in the conflict zone to escape through a “humanitarian corridor.”

Alexander Zakharchenko, a leader of pro-Moscow forces, told Rossiya 24 TV channel on Friday that he had agreed to offer a “humanitarian corridor” for the encircled Ukrainian troops to leave the battlefield in the restive eastern parts.

However, Zakharchenko added that Kiev’s forces should abandon their armored vehicles and ammunition before leaving.

His comments come after a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin calling on the pro-Moscow protesters to allow Ukrainian soldiers to flee the coastal town of Novoazovsk captured by pro-Russians on Wednesday.

“I call on the rebel forces to open a humanitarian corridor for the Ukrainian troops who are surrounded, so as to avoid unnecessary casualties and to give them the opportunity to withdraw from the zone of operations,” Putin said on Thursday.

The collapse of Novoazovsk is seen as a major victory for pro-Moscow fighters in eastern Ukraine. The key resort town on the Azov Sea lies along the road linking Russia to Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol and onto Crimea, which rejoined Russia in a popular referendum in March.

After weeks of military operations that have seen government forces push deep into the last bastions of pro-Russians, the tide appears to be turning once again in the four-month conflict.

Kiev has called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for help.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence pro-Russians in mid-April.

The turmoil in eastern Ukraine has so far taken the lives of more than 2,000 people, according to the UN.

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