More than 50 pro-Russian rebels were killed in an unprecedented assault by Ukrainian government forces, which raged into a second day on Tuesday after a newly-elected president vowed to crush the revolt in the east once and for all.
Reuters journalists counted 20 bodies in combat fatigues in one room of a city morgue in Donetsk. Some of the bodies were missing limbs, sign that the government had brought to bear overwhelming firepower against the rebels for the first time.
“From our side, there are more than 50 (dead),” the prime minister of the rebels’ self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Borodai, told Reuters at the hospital.
The government said it suffered no losses in the assault, which began with air strikes hours after Ukrainians overwhelmingly voted to elect a 48-year-old billionaire confectionary magnate Petro Poroshenko as their new president.