Ukraine gov­ern­ment re­pels rebel at­tack on air­port

The Covington News - - WORLD -

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.

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