" --IANS/EFE"
Kiev, Dec 12 (IANS/EFE) Ukraine's chief prosecutor said Thursday that 241 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a siege by pro-Russian separatists in the town of Ilovaisk in the eastern region of the country in August.

We have officially established that 241 Ukrainian patriots died in the tragedy in the defence of Ilovaisk, prosecutor Gen. Vitali Yarema said at a press conference.

Earlier, the prosecutor's office launched a criminal investigation, accusing high-ranking military officials of negligence which left a Ukrainian volunteer brigade besieged before they were massacred.

Many of those killed came under enemy fire while trying to break the siege without permission of the pro-Russian militias which had promised to guarantee a safe exit for soldiers who gave up their weapons.

Hundreds of heavily-armed militants encircled thousands of government soldiers in August for several days with the help of Russian troops and tanks, according to Ukrainian media.

At the time, Semyon Semenchenko, the commander of the Ukrainian volunteer battalions in Donbas, said that at least 1,000 soldiers from the government forces were killed in Ilovaisk alone.

--IANS/EFE

bb/


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