Donetsk, Jan 12 – DAN. Three Ukrainian servicemen who have been missing since 8 January 2017, died in a explosion 500 meters from DPR forward defence line in vicinity of Oktyabr village (south of Donetsk), DPR Operations Command deputy commander Eduard Basurin told a news briefing on Thursday.

“On 11 January, DPR militia retrieved the bodies of three Ukrainian servicemen three kilometres from Oktyabr village. They were found at a distance of 500 meters from our forward defence line. They died in an explosion in a minefield,” Basurin said.

Two of them instantly died in OZM-72 anti-personnel mine explosion, and the third died of shrapnel wounds after radioing to the commanders about the accident, he said.

“Ukrainian side did not fully implement the search for its fighters showing commanders’ lack of coordination and lack of clear understanding of the assignment carried out by servicemen,” Basurin said.

According to latest information, the dead servicemen were assigned to 1st company, 501st battalion, 36th separate marine brigade. Two Kenwood radio sets, two RPK-74 machine guns, one AK-74 assault rifle and plastic rope for tying hands were found at the scene.

DPR Command believes the three servicemen were part of reconnaissance team which was to have approached DPR positions. The plastic rope suggests that the raiding party might have been tasked with capturing a DPR militiaman.

Earlier, the Ukrainian operation headquarters reported that three servicemen on a mission near the contact line were missing.*jk