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Iran Press TV

UN: Nearly 5,700 killed in east Ukraine conflict

Iran Press TV

Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:0PM

The UN says the death toll from fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine has reached nearly 5,700.

At least 5,665 people have been killed in the conflict over the past nine months, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville, said at a press conference held in the United Nations Office in Geneva on Tuesday.

Noting that 13,961 people have been injured in the time span, Colville added that fatalities may increase even further in the near future.

Death toll rises

Meanwhile, Colville said clashes that erupted in eastern Ukraine before a ceasefire was enforced has made it difficult for the UN experts to provide an accurate number of fatalities.

The pact was agreed between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia fighters in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on February 12.

The truce officially came into force at midnight Ukraine time (2200 GMT) on February 14. However, it was preceded by a surge in fighting.

Back in September 2014, representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, also known as Donbass, inked a ceasefire deal in Minsk, but it was violated on an almost daily basis by both the warring sides.

Donetsk and Lugansk are two of Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east that have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russians and the Ukrainian army since the government in Kiev launched military operations against the pro-Russians in April 2014.

Violence intensified in May last year 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.

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