Ukraine: Separatists retake control of Donetsk Airport

Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic claim to have captured the Donetsk city airport, although officials in Kiev deny these reports. If true, the claim would signal the first significant territorial advance by the rebels since signing the cease-fire pact. The pact has mostly been considered a nominal one, with near-daily violations occurring. It is unclear if Russian authorities condone the current breakdown, given their presence at an ongoing peace conference between separatists and Ukrainian government officials in Astana.

The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, said that he intended into press his offensive and return territory lost to government forces. New weapons have also been seen in the possession of separatists, including the Buratino (“Pinocchio”) that fires a vacuum bomb rocket from tank chassis.

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