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Luhansk Republic militiamen shell Ukraine army's positions near Luhansk Airport

The militia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine shelled the positions of the Ukrainian military near the Luhansk Airport from heavy artillery guns, eyewitnesses reported Monday.

Militiamen also delivered mortar fire on Ukrainian troops deployed near the regional villages of Metallist and Krasny Yar.

The LPR reported that "last night the situation was unquiet in Luhansk suburbs, with artillery standoffs near the villages of Luhanskaya, Krasny Yar, Alexandrovka and Zelyonaya Roshcha."

"From the direction of Alexandrovka and Zelyonaya Roshcha, the enemy made attempts to break into the city, which were repelled by armed LPR units. The LPR army continued shelling the Luhansk Airport," it said in a statement.

"A Ukrainian aircraft on July 6 tried to hit positions of the Luhansk mortar gunners, who were shelling a strategic facility, but missed the target," it said.

"The situation in Severodonetsk, Sverdlovsk [in Luhansk Region] and Izvarino has not undergone substantial transformations, the enemy continued regular shelling of the last two inhabited localities," the LPR said.

The example of Crimea - a region that did not recognize the authorities imposed during a coup in Ukraine in February and seceded from the country to accede to Russia in March - apparently inspired residents of Ukraine's Southeast, who supported the country's federalization. The residents started massive protests and formed militias.

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which border on Russia, held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. South Ossetia has recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the LPR. No other countries have followed suit so far.

Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a punitive operation against federalization supporters.

The operation in Ukraine's embattled southeastern regions, which involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation, has already resulted in hundreds of deaths, destroyed buildings and forced tens of thousands of people to cross the border from Ukraine to Russia.

After a brief ceasefire announced by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on June 20 and terminated by him on June 30, military attacks of the pro-Kiev forces on the country's southeastern regions resumed.

[Source: Itar Tass, Luhansk, 07Jul14]

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