Kiev: Ukrainian rescuers have recovered 15 bodies from the site of Monday’s attack on a refugee convoy in eastern Lugansk region, authorities said Tuesday.
According to Andrei Lysenko, spokesman for the National Security and Defence Council, search and rescue operations have been suspended at the site because of intense fighting near the area between government troops and independence-seeking insurgents, Xinhua reported.
Lysenko said at least one Ukrainian soldier was killed and 28 others wounded in the clashes with rebels over the last 24 hours.
He said earlier that the government was unable to count the exact number of victims in the convoy attack, but according to preliminary estimations, dozens of civilians, including children, were killed.
While trying to leave the war-torn area, the refugee convoy from the restive Lugansk city came under rocket and mortar fire Monday morning near a site of fighting between the Ukrainian army and insurgents.
Ukrainian officials blamed the insurgents for the deadly attack, saying they used mortars and Grad rocket launchers to hit the convoy.
However, Andrei Purgin, the self-styled deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, denied the accusation, insisting that the rebels have no ability to send mortar and rocket launchers to the remote area.