Reports of fighting yesterday in Slovyansk have continued to grow, with reports that the Ukrainian ground troops that invaded the city are escalating their offensive, and civilians are fleeing en masse.
Ukraine’s military has claimed “more than 300” rebels were killed and at least 500 others wounded in and around Slovyansk in the last 24 hours, a figure that seems dramatically higher than anything supported by rebel comments.
Bizarrely, though battles raged throughout Tuesday and into Wednesday, the military’s claim of enormous rebel deaths did not come with any new reports of casualties on their own side, which as of yesterday amounted to two killed and a few dozen wounded. Likewise, they reported all the slain as “pro-Russian militants,” with no indications of what the civilian toll in such enormous violence in an urban area would have to be.
Slovyansk and neighboring Kramatorsk are the first major cities on the border between the separatist-held portion of Ukraine and the cities held by the central government, and are on a major highway linking government-held Kharkiv with the eastern oblasts. Several previous offensives against the cities failed, but this time the reports are of much more serious fighting.