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Iran Press TV

Five Ukrainian servicemen killed in mine blast near Lugansk

Iran Press TV

Sun Jul 5, 2015 2:1PM

At least five Ukrainian servicemen have been killed in the zone of military operation in the restive eastern part of Ukraine, a military spokesman says.

Oleksandr Motuzianik, the Ukrainian presidential spokesman for military affairs, made the remarks during a Sunday briefing in the capital, Kiev, adding, "Five of our soldiers died and three more were wounded as a result of a landmine explosion.'

The spokesman added that the incident happened some 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Lugansk region.

He further noted that at least seven more soldiers have suffered injuries over the past 24 hours in other military zones in eastern Ukraine.

The spokesman went on to say that the situation in the war zone "remains difficult" and accused pro-Russia forces of using artillery prohibited by the deal signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in February. The truce reached by the Western-backed Ukrainian government and pro-Russia forces calls for the establishment of a buffer zone and the pullout of heavy artillery from the line of contact.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which has repeatedly urged the two sides to respect the deal, said on Saturday that the situation remained 'volatile' at and around Donetsk airport.

The conflict in Ukraine broke out in March 2014, after a referendum in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, in which people voted overwhelmingly for reunification with Russia. The situation degenerated into a major armed conflict after Kiev dispatched troops to the eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk in April 2014 in an attempt to suppress pro-Russia forces there.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated in a report on June 26 that the number of Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries has surpassed 900,000 citing data from governmental sources in the host countries. It added that most of those making the flight have found shelter in Russia.

The persisting conflict has so far claimed the lives of at least 6,500 people and displaced nearly 1.5 million citizens, according the United Nations figures. The West and the Kiev government accuse Russia of involvement in the crisis; an allegation denied by Moscow.


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