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Polish volunteer dies fighting rebels in Ukraine

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 26.08.2014 09:01
48 year-old Pole Leonid Smoliński died on August 12 during an ambush by separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, while fighting on the Ukrainian side as a volunteer.

A Ukrainian soldier stands on an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) close to a military camp, near the eastern Ukrainian town of Rassypnoe, 25 August 2014. Russia defied western criticism on 25 August by announcing that it will send a second aid convoy to areas in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatist rebels. EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

Smoliński, a Polish citizen who was born in the western Ukrainian town of Khmelnytskyi (Polish – Chmielnicki) died alongside his friend, the Ukrainian Vladimir Velychko, while fighting for the Dnipro 1 battalion and were two of 12 soldiers to die in the ambush.

Although killed on 12 August, Smoliński's body was only returned in the last few days to his family in Khmelnytskyi, around 230 kilometres from the Polish border, after rebels demanded prisoners being held by Ukrainian forces were exchanged in return.

Velychko and Smoliński were buried in Khmelnytskyi, during a service led by both Orthodox and Roman Catholic priests, according to the kresy.wm.pl web site.

Mark Gregory Paslawsky became the first American fighting on the Ukrainian side of the war in the east of the country to die from wounds sustained in battle in the town of Ilovaysk last Tuesday.

Seven hundred and twenty soldiers fighting on the Ukrainian side have been killed since the Kiev government launched its 'anti-terrorist' operation in eastern Ukraine, according to the National Security and Defence Council. (pg)

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