MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin urged the militia in Ukraine to open a humanitarian corridor to allow besieged Ukrainian servicemen to leave battle ground, the Kremlin said in a statement Friday.
"I call on the militia forces to open a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian servicemen that became encircled, in order to avoid pointless casualties, and to give them an opportunity to freely leave the area of military action, reunite with their families, to return them to mothers, wives and children, to provide medical help to the wounded as a result of the military operation," Putin said in the statement.
Independence supporters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) encircled Ukrainian battalions outside the small town of Ilovaisk, 35 kilometers from Donetsk. Media reports say fighting does not stop in the area, and the militants start to experience shortages of food and water.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko accused the commanders of two subdivisions of leaving the line of resistance. At the same time, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Ilovaisk remained under the control of the Ukrainian forces, which were reinforced on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the DPR militia announced that they captured the checkpoints and strongholds of Ukrainian special forces in the outskirts of the southern town of Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov.
In mid-April, Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in the southeast of Ukraine after they refused to recognize the legitimacy of the coup-imposed government.
According to the United Nations, more than 2,000 people have died as a result of the confrontation, and over 4,950 people have sustained injuries in the fighting.