Ukraine soldier killed, 21 hurt in clashes with separatists

2015-06-14 17:59


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Kiev - Ukraine's military on Sunday said escalating clashes between government forces and pro-Russian insurgents in the separatist east left one Ukrainian soldier dead and 21 injured.

A top military adviser for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the fighting had intensified around the rebel-held airport of the insurgents' de facto capital Donetsk.

"The past day of combat [in the war zone] saw one Ukrainian serviceman die and 21 being injured," Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters.

The latest casualties near the twisting and hotly disputed line separating Ukrainian forces from their heavily-armed foes add to the strains of a February truce designed to end one of Europe's deadliest conflicts in decades.

About 50 people have been reported killed this month - a figure that fails to include the deaths suffered by the secretive and partially splintered rebel command.

The February accords that the leaders of Germany and France helped broker had initially helped limit the fighting to hotspots whose status had been under dispute from the start.

But last week more than 35 people died as intense mortar and artillery fire returned to previously quiet eastern regions of the former Soviet state.

Western monitors said the clashes came after both sides pulled their heaviest guns up to the truce line in apparent preparation for a hot summer campaign.

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