Ukrainians flee as army suffers losses
DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine's president vowed to take vengeance in blood for the deaths of 19 troops killed in an insurgent rocket attack on Friday, and residents of the rebel-held city of Donetsk began fleeing in large numbers, fearing a government siege.
The barrage of rocket fire just before sunrise at a base near the Russian border was a devastating setback for government forces, who seemingly gained the upper hand last weekend when they pushed the pro-Russia fighters out of their stronghold city of Slovyansk. In addition to those killed, 93 soldiers were wounded, the Defense Ministry said.
“For every life of our soldiers, the militants will pay with tens and hundreds of their own,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned. “Not one terrorist will evade responsibility. Everybody will get what is coming to them.”
Ukrainian government troops have been fighting for more than three months against separatists in eastern Ukraine, and in the last two weeks, they have cut the territory held by the rebels in half. Driven from Slovyansk, the rebels have regrouped in Donetsk, an industrial city of 1 million, and Ukraine has said it will cordon off the area.
In anticipation of a siege, leaders of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic announced they will evacuate entire neighborhoods. Many residents have rushed to pack up and leave for fear of getting caught in the cross-fire, given the insurgents' strategy of using residential areas for cover.
“The militia has begun blowing up roads, so I want to get out while there is still time. I don't want to turn into a living shield for the militants,” said 56-year-old businessman Andrei Koziyatko.
High-end shops are boarded up, and many other businesses, including insurance companies, real estate offices, beauty salons and notaries, have closed their doors.
“For sale” and “For rent” signs abound where there were none a few weeks earlier. Property values have collapsed, with one-bedroom apartments in the city center selling for $15,000, or one-third of what they cost before.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nations vow to curb Arctic climate change
- Iraqi general, 3 officers killed in convoy ambush
- Report: Iraqi security forces kill Saddam aide al Douri, but DNA will confirm
- Chechen leader Kadyrov defies Moscow
- All sides in war-torn Yemen say they’re willing to negotiate, but battles, bombs rage unabated
- Senior officials are toppled in China’s anti-graft campaign
- DNA matches child born in Vietnam, father in Texas after 40 years
- Fighting, gasoline shortage intensify Yemen crisis
- Yemen Shiite rebel leader vows not to surrender amid strikes
- Immigrants describe threats in South Africa
- Ethiopians shocked by Islamic State killings