Ukraine Day 1023: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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President Petro Poroshenko says that the death toll of the war in the Donbass has now exceeded 10,000.
As Ukraine marked Armed Forces Day today, Poroshenko said that more than 2,500 Ukrainian servicemen and 7,500 civilians had been killed since the outbreak of the war in the spring of 2014.
In an interview with Holos Ukrainy, the official journal of the Ukrainian parliament, the defense minister, Viktor Muzhenko, specified today that 3,064 members of the security forces had been killed in the east since the start of what the Ukrainian government calls the “anti-terrorism operation” (ATO) in April, 2014.
Of this number, Muzhenko said, 2,636 were soldiers in the Ukrainian armed forces (VSU), the others presumably being volunteer fighters or servicemen in the National Guard, police or State Border Service. 2,148 of the VSU casualties were combat losses.
Yesterday saw further losses in the Donbass, with one soldier killed and another wounded.
Pokidchenko, who had previously fought as a volunteer with Pravyi Sektor, died at around 12:00 yesterday after being shot in the head.
According to the Ukrainian military, Russia-backed forces conducted 26 attacks yesterday.
Oleg Popov, a Ukrainian soldier who defected to the Russia-backed separatists after killing his sergeant on Thursday, has given a press conference in separatist-held Lugansk.
Popov allegedly shot and stabbed his platoon sergeant to death at a Ukrainian army checkpoint near the Bakhmutka highway in the Lugansk region, then stole weapons and fled to the enemy front line.
Today he appeared at a separatist press center and announced he wanted to serve in the “People’s Militia” of the so-called Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR).
Journalists from Donbass Public TV and Espreso were stopped and detained yesterday while trying to report on President Poroshenko’s visit to Karachun hill, near Slavyansk.
Donbass Public TV released a statement this morning:
Dmytro Zhuravlyov, member of NGO Donbas public TV arrived at the ceremony of a new TV tower opening which was to be held on Mount Karachun on December 5. An interview with President Petro Poroshenko, who visited the venue to take part in the ceremony, was to be shot there. Zhuralyov was accredited at the press service of Donetsk Regional State Administration according to the Presidential Administration demands.
Besides, Zhuravlyov had a shooting permit. However, before the beginning of the event, the police asked him and a several other journalists to return to the bus.
They were not allowed to leave the bus for four hours (till the end of the opening ceremony). The police threatened to “shoot them in the feet” in case they tried to leave the bus.
The journalists were accused of being “on the police criminal records”. Members of NGO whose main aim is to promote democratic values, peace and humanism via spreading unbiased information in the Donbas and in Ukraine are deeply concerned about the incident.
Espreso reported later this morning that the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) had apologised for any perceived threat to the reporters.
However the SBU’s official spokesperson, Yelena Gitlyanskaya, maintained that the journalists had not been able to provide the necessary proof of identity.
Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), has vowed to conquer the United Kingdom.
In some of the strangest comments given by a man already known for his dramatic pronouncements, Zakharchenko told Russia’s Orthodox nationalist Tsargrad.TV that Russians must capture not only Kiev, nor Berlin, but Britain.
“Look, all of the evil that befalls Russia comes from the Anglo-Saxons. That is to say, we take it and all our predictions will come about in a golden age for Russia…
We will return all of the territory which was lost by the Russian Empire, plus seize for ourselves that which we should have received further since the Crimean War.”