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Ukrainian military, Donetsk militia fight on WWII battlefields

Self-defense volunteer fighters of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) have clashed with Ukrainian troops for control over the Saur-Mogila hill in Ukraine's Donetsk region, the RIA Novosti news agency reports citing the DPR forces' command. Saur-Mogila, a strategically important height, was the scene of bitter fighting between Soviet troops and Hitler's forces during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45.

The Saur-Mogila war memorial is as sacred for Donbass as Mamayev Kurgan for Volgograd (former Stalingrad).

In June, Donetsk People's Republic forces repelled an airborne assault on Saur-Mogila and took eight Ukrainian paratroopers prisoner.

"Sour-Mogila is a strategic height shielding roads from Donetsk to the Lugansk region and Russia. We are controlling it now, but Ukrainian troops are trying to capture it," a militia member told RIA Novosti.

Shooting resumes near Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, fighting continues in Lugansk

Fighting has resumed on the outskirts of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, the RIA Novosti news agency reports citing local residents. Sounds of shooting have been heard near Yasnogorsk not far from Kramatorsk. Earlier, self-defense fighters retreated from Slavyansk and Kramatorsk to Donetsk and Gorlovka but warned that small fighting squads and subversive groups would stay on.

Ukrainian artillery fired several rounds at the villages of Nikolayevka and Serversk near Slavyansk, where self-defense fighters could possibly be hiding.

All young men aged 25-35 being arrested in Slavyansk - anti-Kiev activist

A bomb went off outside a food shop in the Cherevkovka district of Slavyansk. It's unclear if there were any casualties.

Having occupied Slavyansk, Ukrainian troops started checking locals for suspected loyalty to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

The press office of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic also reports, that Ukrainian armed forces and self-defense militia exchanged mortar fire as armed clashes continued last night near the Lugansk airport controlled by the Ukrainian law-enforcers.

Combat operations are also continuing near the settlements of Mettalist and Krasny Yar, as well as near the Izvarino checkpoint which is controlled by the local self-defense militia, the press office said.

Kiev authorities launched a military operation to suppress independence supporters in eastern regions of Ukraine in mid-April. The fighting intensified after a brief ceasefire in late June was not extended. The operation has claimed hundreds of lives and made thousands flee from southeastern Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly condemned Kiev's actions and urged to establish peace in the region.

DPR to set up military council, prepare Donetsk for active defense

The Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Igor Strelkov, has given some details of how self-defense fighters fought their way out of Slavyansk and has launched defense preparations in Donetsk. "We broke through an almost complete encirclement. We diverted the enemy's attention by a feigned attack," Strelkov said in an interview posted on website.

Some of those who carried out the attack were killed, he said, but 90% of the fighters and 90% of the hardware safely pulled out of Slavyansk.

He said he had information about Ukrainian troops' behavior in Slavyansk.

"We are confronted by real fascists in the true meaning of that word the way our forefathers understood it. They are using the idea of single Ukraine as a shield to commit ethnic cleansings," Strelkov said.

He voiced plans to continue fighting and to prepare Donetsk for active defense.

"Donetsk is better suited for defense than small Slavyansk," he said.

A central military council will be formed "to coordinate the further defense of the Donetsk People's Republic and maybe also part of the Lugansk People's Republic," Strelkov said.

[Source: Strategi Culture Foundation, Voice of Russia, Moscow, 06Jul14]

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