Ukraine government repels rebel attack on airport
LUHANSK, Ukraine (AP) — A convoy of more than 200 white trucks crossed the Russian border to deliver humanitarian aid to a battered Ukrainian city on Saturday, a move made without Kiev’s consent yet met with silence by Ukraine’s top leaders.
“Early in the morning, we entered Ukraine to bring aid to Luhansk,” said Yury Stepanov, a Russian who was overseeing the convoy. “We came in around 215 vehicles,” he added, as workers unloaded boxes into a local warehouse.
The much-needed aid arrived as fighting flared again between pro-Russian rebels and government forces, further imperiling an already fragile cease-fire in the region.
On Saturday, Ukraine’s military operation in the east said it had repelled a rebel attack on the government-held airport of Donetsk, which came under artillery fire from rebel positions late on Friday. Ukrainian authorities also admitted for the first time since the cease-fire started last week that they have inflicted casualties on the rebel side.
Continuous rocket fire could be heard overnight in Donetsk. A statement on the city council website said that shells hit residential buildings near the airport, although no casualties were reported. A column of three Grad rocket launchers — all its rockets still in place — was seen moving freely through the rebel-held city on Saturday morning.
In the other regional capital of Luhansk, one of the worst-hit cities where tens of thousands have been without water, electricity, or phone connections for weeks, the streets were calm as Russian drivers unloaded aid packages into local warehouses.