At least five more people, including civilians and soldiers, have been killed in eastern Ukraine in fresh fighting between government forces and pro-Russians.
“Over the past 24 hours, three Ukrainian military servicemen have been killed and 18 others injured,” Ukraine’s military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said during a news briefing in the capital, Kiev, on Saturday.
Lysenko also dismissed a claim by the pro-Russians that they have captured the airport in the strife-torn eastern city of Donetsk.
“The situation there is really difficult,” he pointed out, adding, “There are constant attacks and attempts to attack, but the military command constantly sends reinforcements.”
Meanwhile, pro-Moscow sources say two civilians have been killed amid the clashes in eastern Ukraine.
The United Nations Security Council will hold a meeting next week to discuss ways to end the spiraling deadly clashes in Ukraine’s east. The 15-member council will meet on Wednesday at the request of Lithuania in an attempt to find a solution to the deadly crisis, which has flared up in recent days.
Earlier this week, fierce fighting erupted around the airport of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, forcing monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to leave the region.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence pro-Russia protests there in mid-April 2014.
According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 4,800 people have been killed in the fighting.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Russia of having a hand in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine. Moscow categorically denies the allegation.