The Ukrainian army have been counting their losses with 17 soldiers dead and another 36 wounded, some critically, following a string of deadly attacks against the military on Thursday.
The largest losses were inflicted at a checkpoint in Volnovakha in the east after heavily-armed militants launched a dawn raid. Ukrainian authorities have blamed the attacks on pro-Russian separatists.
Many locals were on-hand to tend to the casualties.“I helped as much as I could,” began Viktor from Vladimirovka continuing, “From the very beginning – 5 a.m. – I picked up and dropped off the injured, gave first aid, and helped in whichever way I could. My daughter was the one who called me and said that the war has started. So I quickly came here to help.”
A rebel commander in the town of Horvlika claimed responsibility for the raid and showed off the weapons he says were seized from the Ukrainian army.
It has been more than a month that the military have struggled to retain control in the East against separatist groups.
The threat of further attacks looms large as the country prepares for presidential elections to be held on Sunday.