DONETSK, August 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Self-defense militias of the Donetsk People’s Republic have encircled a third attack force of the Ukrainian army by Monday morning, the local news agency Novorossiya reported.
The third Ukrainian army grouping was encircled near the settlements of Stepanovka, Amvrosiyevka and Stepano-Krynka, Novorossiya reported, referring to the militia headquarters.
“All throughout the night, the militia’s forces were concentrated on narrowing the encirclement rings around two Ukrainian army groupings blocked near the settlements of Voikovsky, Kuteinikovo, Blagodatnoye, Alekseyevskoye, Uspenka and Ulyanovskoye and in the area of the settlement of Olenovskoye,” the news agency reported.
The militia headquarters have reported that “over 40 tanks, about 100 infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers and airborne combat vehicles, about 50 Grad and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems and over 60 field artillery guns and mortars have been encircled.”
Surprise attacks by Donetsk militias have also encircled a Ukrainian army grouping near the settlement of Yelenovka, Novorossiya reported.
About 2,000 Ukrainian troops, over 100 pieces of the armor and about 60 artillery guns of various caliber have been encircled by Donetsk fighters who have also liberated the populated areas of Novodvornoye, Agronomicheskoye, Novokaterinovka, Osykovo, Klyonovka, Stroitel and Leninskoye, the militia said.
Donetsk self-defense fighters are also cutting off Ukrainian troops from Ilovaisk along the line of the populated areas of Agronomicheskoye, Kuteinikovo, Voikovo and Osykovo, the militia headquarters said.
A militia reconnaissance has carried out a successful attack on the Ukrainian army in the Starobeshevsky district of the Donetsk Republic, the headquarters said.
Donetsk fighters have also attacked a patrol of the Ukrainian Azov battalion near the settlement of Novy Svet some 30 km (19 miles) from the border with Russia, killing and wounding Ukrainian troops, Novorossiya said, citing combat reports of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
A battle is continuing for control over the Novoazovsk checkpoint, Novorossiya reported. The pro-Kiev Dnepr-1 battalion sent in support of the Ukrainian troops was stopped by fire from a group of guerilla snipers. Several Ukrainian servicemen were wounded, Novorossiya reported.
The latest military successes by Donetsk self-defense fighters have become possible as the militia headquarters have switched from military action by small units to full-scale operations by full-fledged formations and army units, the militia said.
“The army headquarters of the Donetsk People’s Republic have decided to give up action by small units and shift to military action by full-fledged formations and army units which are provided with full fire support,” the republican army headquarters said.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army’s headquarters claimed destroying the militia’s eight tanks, 10 combat vehicles and 250 self-defense fighters during the night.
Units of the Ukrainian National Guard are hurriedly leaving Mariupol, Novorossiya reported, citing local residents.
Trucks full of armed people have been leaving Mariupol since Monday morning and heading for the town of Mangush and the Zaporozhye Region, eyewitnesses said.
Military experts of the Donetsk People’s Republic have said the hurried retreat of the Ukrainian troops from Mariupol can be explained by self-defense fighters’ successes on the southern front.
Donetsk militia earlier said that subversive and reconnaissance groups of the eastern Ukraine self-defense army had burst into Mariupol on Sunday night.
The militias’ subversive and reconnaissance groups also started battles back on Saturday near the town of Novoazovsk 47 km (29 miles) from Mariupol. Donetsk fighters have liberated several populated areas by Monday morning, including Telmanovo, a local administrative center close to Mariupol.
At the same time, Ukrainian army units and a part of the National Guard are still staying in Mariupol, the Donetsk People’s Republic said.
ITAR-TASS has no confirmation of this information from other sources.
Ukrainian army achievements
The Ukrainian military established control of Mariupol in mid-June, after which the pro-Kiev Donetsk regional administration moved to the city.
Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.
During the military operation, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled east.