A doctor counted 45 corpses at Donetsk’s Kalinina morgue while Sergey Khokholya, an investigator working at the morgue, was able to confirm that 33 were rebel fighters. “Their wounds vary. Some were clearly caught in an explosion, some have shrapnel wounds, some gunshot wounds. All the 33 are Donetsk Republic fighters,” he said, adding that there were at least two were civilian casualties – one man and one woman.
Later in the day, pro-Russian separatist leaders put the number at about 50 people dead – admitting, however, that the total could be as high as 100 – in the May 26-27 fighting, with numerous injuries. Donetsk Mayor Oleskandr Lukyanchenko said that, of at least 43 injured in hospitals, eight are residents of Russia, eight are from Donetsk, others are from Russia-annexed Crimea, while the the home locations of 18 others haven’t been established.
Whatever the number of casualties, the bloodshed is escalating as Ukraine’s government – including its military and police – are more aggressively confronting the separatist threat. The fierce gun battles took place on May 26 and May 27 as Ukraine’s government regained control of the Donetsk International Airport and nearby railway station. The next task is to secure the oblast, home to 10 percent of Ukraine’s population, from the imported “terrorists” as the government calls the insurgents.