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Rocket strike kills dozens of Ukrainian soldiers near Russian border

Zelenopillia is 9km from the Russian border

A rocket strike has killed dozens of Ukrainian servicemen in the Armed Forces and State Border Guards in an attack that took place on the morning of July 11 near the Russian border in the southern Luhansk region.

At 4:30 am, Russian-backed militants unleashed a rocket salvo on Ukrainian forces, targeting a motorized brigade from Lviv near the town of Zelenopillia, located on a highway south of Luhansk city. The attack is said to have been conducted using BM-21 Grad multiple-rocket launcher vehicles.

According to preliminary reports, the militants unleashed the attack from a distance 15 km – Zelenopillia is located 9km from the Russian border. Ukrainian forces are said to have responded with an airstrike.

Conflicting death toll

The press service of the Ministry of Defense had initially reported that 19 were killed, while a Ministry of Internal Affairs advisor earlier stated that up to 30 had been killed in the attack. Vladislav Seleznev, spokesperson for the ongoing Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO), responded to these reports on Facebook, clarifying that that instead 23 had died and 93 remained wounded.

“For every life of our soldiers the rebels will pay with tens and hundreds of their own. Not a single terrorist will escape responsibility, each will get his comeuppance,” said President Poroshenko in response to the incident.

Russian-backed militants concentrated in Luhansk and Donetsk have shown an increasing display of armored vehicles, including tanks and surface to air missile systems in recent days as they prepare for the Ukrainian military advance to liberate occupied cities.

A view of the damage
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