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Ukraine warns of ‘threat of war’
April 29, 2015
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KIEV: A Ukrainian soldier was killed and 14 others injured as shelling intensified in eastern parts of the country where government forces are fighting pro-Russian rebels, the army said Tuesday.

“One Ukrainian soldier was killed and 14 injured due to military activity” over the past 24 hours, military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told a news conference.

The most intense exchanges of fire erupted around Avdiivka, a government-held town near the flashpoint area around the airport of the separatist-held city of Donetsk.

Over the past 24 hours, clashes in the conflict zone “increased considerably,” Motuzyanyk said.”The area of violations of the ceasefire by the rebels widened.”

It was the latest in a steady series of reported fatalities in the year-long conflict which has killed more than 6,100 people and displaced more than one million, according to the United Nations.

Despite a ceasefire deal, European OSCE monitors say shelling is rumbling on daily at the frontline between the two sides.

Motuzyanyk accused the separatists of using Grad multiple rocket launchers and other heavy artillery banned under the February ceasefire deal.

Observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) at the weekend reported a surge in shelling at another flashpoint, Shyrokyne, a village close to the port of Mariupol, the largest city under government control in the conflict zone.

The OSCE said its monitors on Sunday witnessed “the most intense shelling” since fighting began there in mid-February, as well as movement of heavy weapons.

Separatists have threatened a new offensive against Mariupol after commemorations of the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II on May 9 are out of the way.

Ukraine’s leader warned on Tuesday that a war with pro-Russian separatists could still break out again as its military said the rebels had greatly stepped up attacks and widened the area of their operations despite a ceasefire.

A military spokesman said one Ukrainian serviceman had been killed — the fourth fatality among the Ukrainian armed forces in four successive days — and 14 others wounded in a surge in violence at flashpoints in Ukraine’s east and south-east.

The latest violence has revived concerns that a peace deal, brokered in Minsk, Belarus, by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, in February could collapse.

Both sides accuse each other of violations.

Speaking at a conference called to reassure Ukraine’s Western backers that Kiev would stick to reforms to earn a place in mainstream Europe, President Petro Poroshenko said Kiev saw no other solution to the conflict in the east other than by negotiations and diplomacy.

But he added: “We are still under a threat of war.”

More than 6,100 civilians, separatists and military personnel have been killed so far in the conflict.

Fighting erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east after the Moscow-backed president was ousted in a public revolt and Russia annexed Crimea.

“In the past 24 hours the resistance (from separatists) has significantly increased.

The geographical area of ceasefire violations by the separatists has widened,” military spokesman Oleksander Motuzyanyk told journalists.

Attacks had been intense around Shyrokyne, east of the coastal city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, he said.

Agencies

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