The first deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Andrei Purgin, claims that the Ukrainian government forces are not allowing militia fighters to remove dead bodies lying around the Donetsk airport.
"By our estimates, there are about 80-100 dead bodies both inside the airport and in the square in front of its entrance. They have been lying there for several days, no one is letting us remove them," he told Interfax.
Purgin said that on Wednesday morning the militiamen managed to reach an agreement with the Ukrainian troops over the removal of the bodies. However, he said, the Ukrainian side has violated the deal. "As soon as our groups drove up to the airport, they came under sniper fire. The fight has continued the whole day," he said.
Purgin added that he had information about five or six of the bodies being those of participants of a sacred procession around the building of the Donetsk regional state administration, who had headed to the airport in a bid to reconcile the fighting forces.
"They too were killed a few days ago. Their bodies are lying in the square in front of the airport. [The troops] would not let us remove them," Purgin said.
Ukrainian army officials were not immediately available to comment on this statement by the DPR representative.
Meanwhile, shots were audible near the airport, the city mayor's website said on Wednesday evening.
"As of 4 p.m., the situation in the city remained tense. Gunfire could be heard in the vicinity of Donetsk Airport," the office said in a statement posted on its website.
The city hall asked residents living within five kilometers from the airport not to leave their houses, stay away from windows and balconies and not to go out if there is no pressing need.
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