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Ukrainian troops have reportedly been given first aid in Russia after a humanitarian corridor was opened.
They were allowed to cross the border on Saturday after fierce fighting with separatist fighters, Russian media sources say. Kyiv has not responded to the claim which cannot be verified.
Two soldiers died, with 21 others reportedly receiving medical treatment.
Speaking in Russian, the Ukrainian commander in charge of the evacuation thanked the authorities: “There was a shootout at the Dolzhansky border crossing. There were a lot of wounded. We asked the Russian border guards to open up a humanitarian corridor. They did, and gave first aid to the injured,” he said.
Russia’s state television channel Rossiya 1 reported that the first convoy of wounded troops crossed the border at midnight. Many were said to be in a serious condition.
Also speaking in Russian, one soldier said he doubted he would return to action.
“Those who pass the army’s physical combat test may go back. Those that don’t will not. I don’t think I’ll pass as I’ve lost my left eye,’‘ he said.
Elsewhere, Russian media claimed two Ukrainian border guards and more than 40 soldiers deserted their posts and crossed into Russia near Donetsk. Kyiv has said it is investigating the claims. The two guards are said to have requested Russian citizenship.