Telegraph, London, on August 3, 2014, reported that Kyiv claims it has encircled Donetsk. Excerpts below:
Ukrainian government forces advanced to the edges of the rebel-held city of Donetsk on August 3 as civilians fled the conflict.
There was fierce fighting between Ukrainian army units supported by irregular forces and the pro-Russian rebels, whose two self-proclaimed “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine are shrinking before the onslaught.
Ukraine’s National Security Council said that rebel fighters had been pushed out of Krasnohorodyvka and Staromykhaylyvka, two small towns just to the west of Donetsk, and Ukrainian troops were also reported in Avdeyevka, on the northern outskirts of the city.
Six civilians were reported killed and 13 injured as a result of shelling in western suburbs of Donetsk on Sunday.
A day earlier Kiev claimed it had surrounded Donetsk and a blob of rebel-held territory stretching to the east, isolating it from the second large rebel city of Luhansk and cutting off supply lines to Russia.
Western countries accuse Vladimir Putin’s Russia of fuelling the conflict by supplying arms and volunteer fighters to the rebels. In a newspaper interview on August 3, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, chief of Nato, urged member countries of the alliance to boost defence investments in the face of “Russia’s aggression”.
The pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine, also known as Donbass, began in April and gathered pace a month later when a disputed referendum was said by separatist leaders to endorse self-rule.
Local government buildings were seized and in response Ukraine’s pro-western leadership launched an “anti-terrorist operation” against the separatists, who fought back.
More than 1,000 civilians have died in the conflict and more than 200,000 people have been forced from their homes since April, according to the UN.