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Iran Press TV

Six troops killed in restive east Ukraine: Military spokesman

Iran Press TV

Sun Apr 5, 2015 2:44PM

At least six soldiers have been killed in two separate violent incidents in Ukraine's restive east, military sources say.

Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a military spokesman, claimed on Sunday that four soldiers died when their military vehicle came under missile fire while crossing a bridge near the mainly Russian-speaking region of Lugansk.

Separately, two others were killed when an anti-tank mine exploded a few kilometers outside the government-held southeastern port city of Mariupol.

Also on Saturday, at least three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two others injured when a mine exploded near the village of Avdiyivka in Donetsk region.

The latest deaths bring to nine the number of soldiers reported dead in 48 hours.

The fatalities come amid a fragile deal between the Kiev government and pro-Russians, which was signed in February to end tensions in the east.

The agreement, brokered in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, was reached after talks between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine. It came into force on February 15.

Both the Ukrainian government forces and the pro-Russians have repeatedly blamed one another for violating the deal.

On March 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement describing Kiev's claims of withdrawing its heavy weapons from the conflict zone – as required by the Minsk deal – as a "bluff."

The Western military alliance, NATO, has recently called for all-out backing for the Ukrainian government – including the provision of arms – by Western countries in response to what he alleged was Moscow's arming of the pro-Russia forces in the east of the country.

The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been hit by deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April last year to crush pro-Russia protests there.

According to the UN, more than 6,000 people have been killed since the conflict in the region a year ago.

JR/HJL/SS



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