Two Russian-backed insurgents were killed in an Election Day shootout with soldiers from Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operation, who chased them for raiding polling stations and stealing voting bulletins in Novoaidar -- a Luhansk Oblast town of 9,000 people -- nearby villages. One insurgent, three Ukraine’s law enforcement officers and several civilians were wounded in the fighting, Vladislav Selezniov, a spokesman for Ukraine's anti-terrorist operation, told the Kyiv Post.
“Thirteen terrorists were captured by our information as a result of the operation,” he said. He added that a number of Kalashnikovs were seized from the terrorists, possibly stolen from Ukraine’s military bases in Crimea after Russian forces invaded in March.
Election commission workers and observers in Luhansk Oblast's Svatovo told the Kyiv Post that on the afternoon of May 25, the separatists stormed six polling stations in and around of Novoaidar and stole ballots in four of them.
But at about 4 p.m., Ukraine’s security forces found the thugs with stolen ballots near a café in Novoaidar, and the fight started. There were photos of about a dozen of men lying handcuffed on the ground shared later on the Internet.
The Kyiv Post came to the location of the shootout 30 minutes after it finished.
In one of three cars remaining after the fight, a box with polling station No. 263 was in the car. The car had a strange license plate number with the emblem of the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk People’s Republic. There were no signs of blood in that car.
But in two other cars, the seats were covered with blood. Eyewitnesses said that a man and a woman driving in one of them -- a red Mitsubishi -- were random casualties who didn’t stop in time and so were shot and wounded. A woman who saw the fight said that a young male driver received grave wounds to his chest and the woman to her back. Both were taken by ambulance. She believed the man was killed, but law enforcement authorities didn't confirm any other deaths. “We lived peacefully and what we have now here. We don’t need this war,” the woman said.
Editor’s Note: This article has been produced for Kyivpost with support from the project www.mymedia.org.ua, financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and implemented by a joint venture between NIRAS and BBC Media Action.The content in this article may not necessarily reflect the views of the Danish government, NIRAS and BBC Action Media.