: Donetsk militant leader readies to take over south-eastern city of Berdyansk

19:33 Jun. 22, 2016

Donetsk militant leader readies to take over south-eastern city of Berdyansk

Oleksandr Zakharchenko, Russian-backed militant leader speaks during a press conference in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 11, 2014 (AP Photo)

Zakharchenko says "Mariupol will surrender without a fight"

The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Oleksandr Zakharchenko, whom Ukraine considers a terrorist leader, says he is not rejecting Minsk peace agreements.

Read also Militant leader wants to talk to Kyiv residents

"I've never said that I refuse to follow Minsk II. On the contrary, unlike Kyiv, we intend to bring the Minsk story till the end, and get Kyiv to fulfil its obligations", - the militant leader was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian TSN news outlet.

"And I haven't given the order on Mariupol offensive yet. From the military and economic point of view it is better to seize Berdyansk. Mariupol will then go down with a fight," Zakharchenko added.

In January 2015 the DPR leader announced the start of military offensive on Mariupol. Soon after that the city's residential district was shelled from Grad multiple rocket system. At least 30 civilians died and dozens were wounded as a result of the attack.

Later Zakharchenko said "nobody was going to storm Mariupol."

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