UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Worst flare-up in months kills 9 Ukrainian troops

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:14PM

Nine Ukrainian troops have been killed in clashes with pro-Russian militias and a mine blast in the volatile eastern border frontline in the bloodiest incident in recent months.

According to the Ukrainian military on Thursday, shelling by militias has killed six servicemen and wounded two more around the de facto breakaway capital of Donetsk over the past 24 hours.

Three more soldiers were killed and three injured when their vehicle hit a landmine northwest of the second biggest breakaway city of Lugansk, it added.

Meanwhile, a news agency affiliated to pro-Russian forces said three civilians had been wounded in shelling of residential areas by Ukrainian forces.

Sporadic clashes have continued since a deal brokered by Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany went into effect in 2015.

On Tuesday, pro-Russian forces fighting against Kiev announced the creation of a new "state" called Malorossiya that they said would take the place of Ukraine and have its capital in Donetsk.

Malorossiya was the term used during the Russian tsarist era to identify the area which is currently part of Ukraine.

The proposed country would be founded after a referendum. A constitution presented by regional pro-Russian leader Alexander Zakharchenko said representatives from the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk "People's Republics" and other regions had agreed to declare the establishment of a new state.

The surprise proposal elicited immediate reaction from Ukraine's pro-Western authorities in Kiev. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Tuesday that he would "restore sovereignty over Donbass and Crimea," and predicted that the Malorossiya project would fall apart.

Ukraine launched an all-out offensive against the Donbass region in 2014 after its residents sought to join Russia, leading to a protracted conflict which has claimed the lives of some 10,000 people.

While Russia has refused to annex the region, it has warned of military action if Ukraine attempted to suppress the ethnic Russian-speaking people in the Donbass region.

The US and its allies in Europe blame Russian for the uprising in Donetsk and Lugansk but Moscow denies direct intervention in the conflict.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list