DONETSK, August 1 (RIA Novosti) – At least 10,500 people have died since the beginning of the military operation, launched by Kiev in the southeast of Ukraine in mid-April, People’s Governor of Donbas Region Pavel Gubarev said on Friday.
“We only have the approximate figures, but at least 2,000 people from our side have been killed during the conflict, 60 percent of them were civilians, others – from self-defense forces,”
Gubarev added that each shelling takes the lives of dozens of civilians as they are less mobile than the militia and suffer the most.
The governor estimated Ukrainian Army and National Guard losses at 8,000 people.
Gubarev also stated that Ukrainian authorities are downgrading the army losses, classifying the dead soldiers as missing in action.
On July 30, the head of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Donbas said the Ukrainian Army has been lowering the death toll in the operation against the militia in eastern Ukraine by listing dead soldiers as defectors in order to avoid paying compensation to their families.
Semen Semenchenko, the chief of the Donbas battalion, said earlier that up to eight Kiev-backed soldiers are lost daily in the operation in the country’s east. The Donbas militia said Kiev lost 1,600 soldiers over July 9-15.
Kiev has launched a special military operation to suppress independence supporters in the southeastern Ukrainian region of Donbass, following their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the coup-imposed government.
The fighting intensified dramatically after Luhansk and Donetsk regions proclaimed themselves independent republics and started to form their own governments.
According to a UN report, the ongoing conflict claimed the lives of 1,129 civilians from mid-April through July 26, with about 3,442 injured.
Moscow has repeatedly urged Kiev to stop the bloodshed.