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Ukraine, pro-Russians accused of war crimes

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Amnesty International (AI) has accused both Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia activists of committing war crimes in eastern Ukraine, where both sides have been fighting for months.

The chief of the human rights group, Salil Shetty, said Wednesday that fighters from both sides of the conflict have committed war crimes, including indiscriminate shelling, abductions, torture and killings.

Shetty added that AI has documented evidence of human rights violations by Ukrainian volunteer battalion in the conflict.

In addition, Shetty called for an immediate investigation into numerous reports of indiscriminate shelling from both sides.

According to Shetty, more than 1,000 civilians have lost their lives in Ukraine’s eastern regions since the violence broke out five months ago.

The report comes as a shaky ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia activists continues to hold, despite sporadic skirmishes between the two sides.

The truce was endangered over the weekend by the shelling of the port city of Mariupol and fighting near Donetsk.

Western powers accuse Moscow of supporting the pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine, while Russia denies the accusation.

The truce deal between Kiev and the pro-Russians was reached on September 5 after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko hammered out a compromise deal aimed at ending the heavy fighting.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence pro-Russians in mid-April.

Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Lugansk held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.

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