Ukraine's acting Defense Minister says government forces have "completely cleared" pro-Russian rebels from parts of the separatist east and will press on with an offensive until peace and order have been restored, RFE/RL reports.
Mykhaylo Koval was speaking to reporters in Kyiv on May 30, one day after 14 government troops, including a general, were killed when rebels shot down an army helicopter.
"Our armed forces have completed their assigned missions and completely cleared the southern and western parts of the Donetsk region and the northern part of the Luhansk region from the separatists," Koval said.
"Our given task is to bring peace and order to the region," he added.
He said Ukrainian forces would continue with military operations in border areas "until these regions begin to live normally, until there is peace."
To recall, Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko earlier emphasized that 'anti-terrorist' operations should be “more effective and be held within shorter period,” and law enforcement units should have better weapons and equipment.
“If we want to bring peace and stop war, we need to start respecting Ukrainian military. Our priority should be the support of Ukrainian army. During presidential campaign, I met Ukrainian soldiers, and I can tell you for sure, new Ukrainian army was born,” he added.
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