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Iran Press TV

Ukrainian trooper killed in east: Military spokesman

Iran Press TV

Sun May 3, 2015 3:39PM

At least one Ukrainian soldier has been killed and six others have been wounded as a result of heavy shelling in Ukraine's restive east, military sources say.

Andriy Lysenko, a military spokesman, claimed on Sunday that the casualties occurred when pro-Russia forces shelled the positions of government troops across the mainly Russian-speaking regions.

He said pro-Russians had used large-caliber artillery in their attacks on the Ukrainian army.

Separately, the pro-Kiev regional police chief, Vyacheslav Abroskin said at least one civilian was also killed after pro-Russians targeted a Ukrainian army checkpoint in Marinka, located six kilometers west of the mainly Russian-speaking region of Donetsk.

Denis Pushilin, a pro-Russia leader in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, has strongly condemned unprovoked and intensified shelling by the Ukrainian troops across the region. Sources say at least six people have so far been wounded as a result of the heavy shelling.

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 April 18, self-declared Donetsk leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko said the ceasefire accord brokered in Minsk is not being adequately implemented by Kiev. He also claimed that the Western-backed Ukrainian government is preparing for a war over eastern Ukraine, an allegation Kiev denies.

The UN human rights office in Geneva said on April 17 that at least 6,116 people have been killed and 15,474 wounded since the crisis was triggered last April.

It said the actual number of casualties could be significantly higher, and expressed concern that the repeated violation of the shaky ceasefire aimed at ending the conflict would further worsen the human rights situation in the volatile region.

The UN office also reported that nearly 400 civilians have been killed since the beginning of 2015 either in the indiscriminate bombardment of residential areas or by landmines and unexploded ordnance in areas held by pro-Russia forces as well as those under the control of the government in Kiev.

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.

JR/HJL/SS



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