Herashchenko: More than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed in ‘Ilovaisk pocket’
More than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the “Ilovaisk pocket” in Donetsk region, MP from the Popular Front Party Anton Herashchenko told journalists in the Verkhovna Rada on Friday, Ukrainian television’s 112 Ukraine channel has reported.
"We have already had the temporary investigative commission (TIC) on the ‘Ilovaisk pocket.’ According to its report, more than 1,000 people died there. But the responsible person for this investigation was [Andriy] Senchenko, a representative of [former Prime Minister] Yulia Tymoshenko, and he is no longer an MP. That means those who were responsible for this work did not finish it," he said.
According to Herashchenko, this is a question of the quality of the work of the parliament and its MPs.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the General Prosecutor Office said that more than 360 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in Ilovaisk in late August when it was surrounded and attacked by militant forces, many of whom Ukraine claims were actually Russian regular troops.
During the military clashes, Ukrainian troops suffered heavy losses. According to Senchenko, at least 300 Ukrainian soldiers were killed while trying to break out of encirclement.
More than 500 soldiers were injured, and 180 people are still missing, according to the General Prosecutor Office.
In late February, National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said that Ilovaisk was a case of a “classic pocket.” However, he didn’t confirm reports that a similar pocket had formed around the town of Debaltseve.
Ukrainian troops withdrew from Debaltseve on February 18, three days after a ceasefire was supposed to have come into effect, when they came under heavy attack by militant forces.
Ukrainian soldiers interviewed at the time said their commanders on the ground had ordered the withdrawal, though Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko later said the withdrawal had been “planned and organized” by the Ukrainian General Staff.
Ukrainian soldiers also said the forces attacking them were in fact Russian regular troops – claims backed up later by interviews in the Russian media with Russian soldiers who also claimed to have taken part in the fighting for Debaltseve.