Rebels kill 15 Ukrainian security personnel

Kiev, Aug 8 (IANS): Fifteen Ukrainian security personnel have been killed and 79 wounded in fierce clashes with independence-seeking insurgents over the past 24 hours, a military spokesman said Friday.

"There were seven Ukrainian soldiers and eight border guards among those dead," Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the National Security and Defence Council, told reporters.

According to Lysenko, Ukrainian forces had clashed with the rebels 44 times over the past day in eastern regions not far from the Russian border, Xinhua reported.

The insurgents used heavy artillery in attacks on government troops, he said, adding that, in response, Ukrainian soldiers also opened fire against rebels.

The insurgents have suffered "significant losses in manpower and military equipment" during the clashes, the spokesman said, without giving further details.

Battles between Ukrainian troops and rebels in eastern Ukraine since mid-April have claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people, including civilians.

Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian government decided to compensate the relatives of soldiers killed during the confrontation.

The families of the troops who lost their lives would each get around $49,000 as one-time payment, according to the government's press service.


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Title: Rebels kill 15 Ukrainian security personnel

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