The commander of the pro-Russian separatist army in eastern Ukraine is killed

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The commander of one of the pro-Russian separatist battalions in eastern Ukraine, Mikhail Kishchik, was killed. Better known by the pseudonym Misha Chechen, Kishchik died as Russian troops and separatist forces launched an offensive against the Ukrainian army in the east of the country.

"Sad news from the front line. "A LNR patriot, Lieutenant Colonel Mikhail Kishchik, has died," he wrote The Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Luhansk (LNR), Sergei Kozlov on his social media account.

He added that Kishchik and his comrades were surrounded by Ukrainians near the town of Kremina and "fought to the end".

"We are determining the number of killed and injured," he added.

The Kremlin is one of the points on the front line where Russian forces are trying to advance towards the larger cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, held by Ukrainian troops, writes the BBC, reports.

Kishchik and his battalion have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014. In the early stages of the conflict, he and his fighters were accused of looting residential areas in the Luhansk region.

In 2016, during a calm in hostilities in eastern Ukraine, an independent Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, published an investigation, calling Kishchik one of the heads of a smuggling ring in eastern Ukraine. He had never commented on the allegations.21Media