The Ukrainian military reported today that pro-Russian separatists captured an Ukrainian soldier that was injured by a landmine explosion, when traveling in a truck in the Bakhmutka district of the Donetsk Oblast.
“On February 25, two servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were driving a truck, heading towards their positions near the front-line, when their vehicle hit a landmine”, Ukrainian presidential administration spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, told reporters on February 29.
“The truck was completely destroyed following the explosion, leaving one soldier dead. The second soldier was captured by an illegal armed group, as was the body of the soldier who was killed,” Lysenko added during the briefing conference in Kiev/Kyiv.
The Ukrainian authorities and military commandment “are making every effort to return them”, he said.
“No one from the Ukrainian forces was killed or injured over the past 24 hours. Despite 71 shelling attacks that were carried out by the enemy over the past 24 hours, not one of our warriors was killed or injured,” Lysenko added.
Yuriy Tandyt, an advisor to the SBU (Ukraine’s Security Service) chief, revealed that SBU is acting to have the captured Ukrainian soldier released as soon as possible.
“SBU received this information immediately. In the interest of our captured soldier, who needs to be saved, we decided not to comment on it straight away. However, we will do anything to get our soldier out,” he told Interfax on Monday.
Although the Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian separatists have signed a ceasefire (Minsk) agreement just over a year ago, pro-Russian separatists keep violating the measures that were outlined in the agreement.
About 700 international OSCE (Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe) observers have been deployed in Ukraine, but they are constantly denied access to the Russian-Ukrainian border area where Kiev says: “Russian troops and military hardware are sent to separatist fighters”.
The war in east Ukraine has killed at least 9,000 people and has driven more than 1.5 million from their homes.
Russian involvement in Ukraine
Ukraine has accused Russia of backing pro-Russian separatists fighting Kiev since April 2014, but Moscow denies direct involvement.
Russia has continuously denied involvement in Ukraine, even after VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky found Russian soldiers posting selfies of themselves in Ukraine to social media accounts; wearing the same uniforms worn by pro-Russian separatists.