Fighting erupts: tanks, mortars in Donetsk (video)

Ukrainian army tanks were reported to be launching an assault to break pro-Russian rebels’ hold on the eastern city of Donetsk on Monday in the first major outbreak of hostilities in the area since Malaysia Airlinea flight MH17 was shot down last week, reports.

A separatist leader said Ukrainian government forces were trying to break into Donetsk and fighting was under way near the railway station. Sergei Kavtaradze, of the rebels’ self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said at least four tanks and armored vehicles were trying to break through into the city. Armored vehicles of Kyiv law enforcement agencies tried to break through to a railway station in the city of Donetsk, representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Andrei Purgin told ITAR-TASS on Monday.

In his turn, a Ukrainian military spokesman said the operation was in progress but would not comment on reports of troops entering Donetsk. “The active phase of the anti-terrorist operation is continuing. We are not about to announce any troop movements,” Vladyslav Seleznyov said.

(UPD) Counterterrorist forces are sealing the ring around Horlivka and Donetsk, expanding zone of control around Donetsk airport, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council says.

Reuters journalists also saw two rebel tanks heading towards Donetsk railway station. Pawel Pieniążek, a Polish reporter, who is currently staying in Donetsk, made a video and said on Twitter he heard BM-21 [Grad] multiple rocket launcher firing as he was in the heart of Donetsk. Fights might have been in the immediate neighbourhood, he suggested.

{movie}Separatists’ tanks in Donetsk, video by Polish journalist Pawel Pieniążek|right|17552{/movie}

The fighting near the train station and the airport in Donetsk on Monday, July 21 has left three people dead and one injured, the health care department of the Donetsk Regional State Administration has reported.

Russian terrorists fired self-propelled 120 mm mortar at Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, a video posted on Russian social media Vkontakte shows. Some mortar vehicles bear inscriptions Battalion ‘Vostok’. Vostok Battalion is notorious for participating in the ethnic cleansing in Chechnya and involvement in the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.

{movie}Russian terrorists fire self-propelled 120 mm mortar at Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, video taken at Russian social media|right|17553{/movie}

A shell has exploded near hypermarket Armstor in the vicinity of Donetsk railway station, reports. There are dead and injured people, but nobody knows how many people suffered, eyewitnesses say. As shooting attacks are still in progress emergency doctors are not able to visit the scene.

{movie}Fightings in Donetsk 21.07.2014.|right|17561{/movie}

The past 24 hours in Luhansk were tense as the fighting continued, 26 apartment buildings were damaged, and two civilians were killed, the press office of the Luhansk City Council has reported.

In general, the city’s anti-crisis center received 1,925 appeals from citizens. “As a result of constant shelling of the city two civilians were killed and 12 peaceful residents of Luhansk were injured. Emergency services were called 117 times in the past 24 hours,” reads the statement. Twenty-six residential buildings were damaged, reports.

A group of terrorists tried to break out of the town of Lysychansk in Luhansk region on Sunday evening, but 23 Russian militants have been captured, the press service of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has reported.

“On the instruction of the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces an armor convoy of the illegal armed unit was defeated. Three armored vehicles were destroyed, and 23 militants, including their injured leader, were captured,” reads the statement. Some prisoners are representatives of Chechen nationality. All militants have Russian citizenship.

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