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Iran Press TV

East Ukraine clashes re-escalating to pre-ceasefire level: NATO

Iran Press TV

Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:52PM

NATO says the intensity of fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine has reverted to levels before the Minsk ceasefire agreement.

"The fighting has intensified to pre-agreement, pre-stand-down levels and in some cases beyond," said NATO's senior military commander, General Philip Breedlove, in Brussels on Thursday.

Breedlove reiterated Kiev's allegations that Moscow provides pro-Russia activists with military assistance.

"The Russian-backed forces have renewed capabilities…. We are beginning to see the signatures of air defense systems and electronic war defense systems that have accompanied Russian troops in the past," the NATO official claimed.

However, Breedlove said he cannot confirm the earlier claim by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that Moscow dispatched some 9,000 troops to eastern Ukraine to support the pro-Russia forces.

Breedlove's remarks came shortly after Ukrainian sources announced that 34 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine clashes on Thursday.

Back in September 2014, the representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk inked a ceasefire deal in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. The truce has been almost daily violated by both the Ukrainian military and pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.

Donetsk and Lugansk, in eastern Ukraine and with mainly Russian-speaking populations, have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since Kiev's military operation started in April 2014 in a bid to crush the protests.

Violence intensified in May 2014 after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.

The fighting has left more than 5,000 people killed and over a million displaced, the UN says.


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