13 Ukraine troops dead, over 30 wounded in attack

BLAHODATNE, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russia insurgents have carried out their deadliest raid yet on Ukrainian troops.

They attacked a military checkpoint about 20 miles south of Donetsk today, killing 16 soldiers. A rebel commander says one of his fighters also died in the raid, while witnesses say more than 30 Ukrainian troops were wounded, with some in grave condition. Fighting also raged in at least two other villages.

That attacks come three days before the country holds a presidential vote.

The country’s acting prime minister is accusing Russia of escalating the conflict in eastern Ukraine and trying to disrupt the election.

Meanwhile, Russia’s defense ministry says its forces are leaving regions near Ukraine as part of a massive military pullout that was ordered by President Vladimir Putin. It says four trainloads of weapons and 15 heavy-lift transport planes have already left.

NATO’s supreme commander in Europe says some Russian military movements have been detected, but it’s too soon to assess their size or importance. He says a very large and capable Russian force still remains close to Ukraine.

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180-a-05-(Colonel Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesman, with reporters)-“it all means”-Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, says the U.S. has detected some movement of Russian troops away from the Ukraine border. ((longer version of cut in wrap)) (22 May 2014)

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138-c-09-(Vladimir Isachenkov (ee-sah-CHEHN’-kawf), AP correspondent)-“30 soldiers wounded”-AP correspondent Vladimir Isachenkov reports local people told the AP that the Ukrainian checkpoint had been attacked by heavily armed insurgents. (22 May 2014)

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APPHOTO XVG109: A military ambulance passes by Ukrainian soldiers manning a road block next to an Ukrainian check point that came under attack by pro-Russians near the village of Blahodatne, eastern Ukraine, on Thursday, May 22, 2014. At least 11 Ukrainian troops were killed and about 30 others were wounded when Pro-Russians attacked a military checkpoint near Blahodatne, the deadliest raid in the weeks of fighting in eastern Ukraine.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (22 May 2014)

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