Ukraine marks 2014 battlefield massacre it blames on Russia
Hundreds of people gathered in Kiev on Wednesday to commemorate the fourth anniversary of one of the deadliest battles in Ukraine's war with Russia-backed rebels.
Kiev has blamed the massacre on Russian troops armed with heavy weapons it says helped the rebels surround Ukrainian troops in the eastern town of Ilovaysk in August 2014.
Some 366 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, over 450 wounded, 300 captured and 84 went missing in the battle, according to Kiev officials.
More than four hundred people flocked to the Russian embassy in Kiev to mark the battle on Wednesday, placing hundreds of white crosses with portraits of slain Ukrainian soldiers in front of the building and pouring red paint over them to symbolise the terrible bloodshed.
Ukrainian soldiers who returned from Ilovaysk came to honour the memory of their fellow servicemen holding the country's blue and yellow national flags.
Some of the activists held portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin saying: "The face of the war."
"Each interrupted life is a crime of the Russian aggressor, for which he will certainly be punished," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page.
The Ilovaysk massacre followed weeks of battles around the town which led to Ukrainian forces in the area becoming surrounded. Most died trying to break through enemy ranks.
An investigation by Kiev found that a massive incursion of Russian troops on August 23-24 shot at Ukrainian forces as they tried to escape, despite an agreement with Russian command to provide them with a safe corridor.
Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of funnelling troops and arms across the border.
Moscow has denied the allegations despite evidence it has been involved in the fighting and gives open political support to the rebels.
More than 10,000 people have been killed since the rebel insurgency broke out in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions in April 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
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