Europe

Ukrainian serviceman killed, 8 others injured in Donbas

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At least one Ukrainian serviceman has been killed and eight others have been injured in the latest gun battles with pro-Russia forces in the country’s eastern region of Donbas over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s military spokesman says.

“A Ukrainian serviceman has been killed and eight others have been wounded outside the town of Ozeryanivka,” Andriy Lysenko said at a news briefing in the capital, Kiev, on Sunday.

He noted that the pro-Russia forces used mortars, grenade launchers, tanks and BM-21 Grad systems over the past 24 hours to shell the airport in Donetsk.

The spokesman described as tense the situation in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Lugansk and southeastern city of Mariupol.

Meanwhile, the defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said earlier on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had violated a ceasefire between Ukraine and the pro-Russia forces in Donbas 51 times in the past 24 hours.

“We have registered 51 shelling attacks, launched by the Ukrainian military over the past 24 hours, targeting the Kyivsky, Kuibyshevsky and Petrovsky districts of Donetsk,” a spokesman of the defense ministry said.

Ukraine and the pro-Russia forces had agreed to stop fighting across the eastern conflict zone from December 9, 2014, under the terms of a ceasefire brokered by Moscow.

However, the truce agreement has been frequently violated, with each side blaming the other for breaching the ceasefire.

The Sunday developments came a day after two soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded in the gun battles with pro-Russia forces.

The two slain military personnel were members of the Ukrainian National Guard, whose battalion was ambushed.

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 the pro-Russia protests in mid-April 2014.

According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 4,700 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.

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