A Ukrainian military official says the bodies of 87 soldiers killed while fighting Russian-backed rebels have been evacuated from southeastern Ukraine.

Mykhailo Logvinov, a military official in the southeastern region of Zaporizhye, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying Wednesday that the bodies have been delivered to the area from the eastern city of Ilovaysk.

The rebels routed the Ukrainian forces in Ilovaysk and other eastern areas over the past week, forcing them to retreat. The rebel gains sharply turned the tide in their favor after weeks of Ukrainian advances.

Media reports said at least about 100 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed around Ilovaysk.

Logvinov said the remains are being identified by local forensic experts.