Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine on Thursday killed at least 10 soldiers in an overnight ambush on a Ukrainian paratroopers unit, near the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a BBC report said.
"The overwhelming enemy forces ambushed our troops in Shakhtarsk, taking advantage of the topography," Vladyslav Seleznyov, a spokesman for Ukraine's "anti-terrorist operation" told Ukraine's ICTV network, according to BBC, adding that the Ukrainian paratroopers had fought back and inflicted "significant losses" on their attackers.
Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky confirmed the death of 10 soldiers while four additional bodies are yet to be identified. Local Ukrainian media reported the deaths of over 20 people in the overnight attack.
The Russia-backed rebels in Donetsk reportedly posted on Twitter stating that an "enemy" column had been "repulsed" and that three soldiers from Ukraine's 25th Air Mobile Brigade had been taken prisoner.
The rebels claimed to have destroyed more than 30 vehicles in the attack and unverified videos showed the carnage. Videos published on YouTube, dated July 31, reportedly show a burning military vehicle with bodies scattered nearby. The dead soldiers are reported to be from the 25th Brigade.
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Around 80 bodies remain at the site, Australian forensic experts reported.
On Thursday, Dutch and Australian forensic experts visited the crash site for the first time since the plane crashed on July 17, killing all 298 people on board after it was hit by a missile while flying over territory held by separatists.
Following the crash, the U.S. and the U.K., have implemented tougher sanctions against Russia for its support of the rebels. Russia has denied having any involvement in the downing of the plane.