Ukraine Forces Recapturing Donetsk from pro-Russian Rebels

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By Athena Yenko | August 12, 2014 9:45 AM EST

The recapture of Donetsk from the pro-Russian separatists is nearing as the Ukrainian government forces are reportedly at their final stage of counter-attack against the separatists.

REUTERS
Senior Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksander Borodai (C) speaks during a handover of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's black boxes to Colonel Mohamed Sakri (R) of the Malaysian National Security Council, in Donetsk July 22, 2014. The remains of some of the 298 victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over Ukraine were making their way to the Netherlands on Tuesday as Borodai handed over the plane's black boxes to Malaysian experts.

A military spokesman revealed that the Ukrainian forces are already at their final stage of taking Donetsk back from the pro-Russian separatists. He said that the forces had already advanced significantly in breaking away the separatists. He said that the Kiev's forces had now taken Donetsk away from other regions held by the rebels.

"The forces of the 'anti-terrorist operation' are preparing for the final stage of liberating Donetsk. Our forces have completely cut Donetsk off from Luhansk. We are working for liberating both towns but it's better to liberate Donetsk first - it is more important," spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council , Andriy Lysenko, told Reuters.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian forces had advanced significantly, taking a hard stance that they will only stop their attacks if the separatists surrender.

On Saturday, newly-elected rebel leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko, had reportedly called for cease-fire without any preconditions. By Sunday, the group's spokeswoman Elena Nikitina repeated their call for ceasefire that is after the Ukrainian forces agreed to leave the region.

However, Lysenko said that the only way that the rebels in Donetsk could avert the military's advance is for the rebels to "lay down their arms and give up."

The significant gains achieved by the Ukraine forces had caused "panic and chaos in the ranks of the rebels" and had them thinking of "deserting their posts en masse," Lysenko said.

Russia supported Zakharchenko's call for ceasefire. However, Kiev was wary that the ceasefire could allow Russia to render humanitarian aid and use it as an excuse to bring in Russian soldiers in Ukraine. The same doubt repeatedly echoed by the United States.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that Russia could only conduct humanitarian mission if it is to be conducted without military assistance and will pass border checkpoints under the Ukrainian control.

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both think that any form of intervention done by Russia will be unacceptable and would constitute violation of international law.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Maxim Zmeyev)
Senior Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksander Borodai (C) speaks during a handover of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's black boxes to Colonel Mohamed Sakri (R) of the Malaysian National Security Council, in Donetsk July 22, 2014. The remains of some of the 298 victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over Ukraine were making their way to the Netherlands on Tuesday as Borodai handed over the plane's black boxes to Malaysian experts.
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