Pro-Russia Separatists Take Armored Vehicles, Humiliating Kiev Forces

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By Paul Martin

Gabriela Baczynska and Thomas Grove
BusinessInsider.com
Apr. 16, 2014

KRAMATORSK / SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Separatists flew the Russian flag on armored vehicles taken from the Ukrainian army on Wednesday, humiliating a Kiev government operation to recapture eastern towns controlled by pro-Moscow partisans.

Six armored personnel carriers were driven into the rebel-held town of Slaviansk to waves and shouts of “Russia! Russia!”. It was not immediately clear whether they had been captured by rebels or handed over to them by Ukrainian deserters.

Another 15 armored troop carriers full of paratroops were surrounded and halted by a pro-Russian crowd at a town near an airbase. They were allowed to retreat only after the soldiers had handed over the firing pins from their rifles to a rebel commander.

The military setback leaves Kiev looking weak on the eve of a peace conference on Thursday, when its foreign minister will meet his Russian, U.S. and European Union counterparts in Geneva.

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