Renewed Ukraine clashes leave 17 people dead
Iran Press TV
Wed Jun 3, 2015 5:17PM
At least 17 people have been killed in the latest round of fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia forces in the country's restive east.
Vladimir Kononov, the defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), said that 15 people were killed in battles around their stronghold in the eastern region of Donetsk on Wednesday.
Kononov said the violence erupted after a "provocation" by Ukrainian forces, who shelled an area near the town of Marinka early Wednesday morning.
"A minimum of 15 people have been killed in the DPR since the beginning of the full-scale shelling by the Ukrainian Security Forces along the entire contact line," he told the Donetsk News Agency.
However, Andriy Lysenko, Ukraine's military spokesman, accused the pro-Russians of firing a barrage of artillery attacks against the government-held suburbs of Donetsk, adding, "Ukrainian troops are repelling all attacks and successfully holding onto their positions."
Meanwhile, Hennadiy Moskal, the head of the government-controlled part of Ukraine 's eastern region of Lugansk, said in a statement that an elderly couple died when their car was hit by a mortar inside the government-held area on Wednesday.
The chief physician at the Donetsk Republic Trauma Center, Alexander Oprishchenko, also noted that the hospital had admitted 60 injured people for treatment only on Wednesday, Russia's Tass news agency reported.
The latest clashes are seen as a violation of a ceasefire agreement reached between Ukraine's warring sides in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk in February.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and Ukrainian army troops since April 2014, when Kiev launched military operations against the pro-Russians in control of government buildings there.
According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, over 6,400 people have been killed and approximately 16,000 wounded in the Ukraine conflict so far.
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