KIEV: A Ukrainian soldier was killed in the conflict-ridden east of the country in a mortar and grenade attack launched from territory held by pro-Russian separatists, the military said on Saturday, reports AFP.
The Ukrainian army has been locked in simmering trench conflict with breakaway fighters in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions since 2014 when Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula. The military said in a Facebook post that separatists had fired on its troops with mortars and anti-tank weapons from near their administrative centre of Donetsk.“As a result of the shelling, one Ukrainian serviceman received a fatal shrapnel wound,” the Ukrainian military’s statement said.
It added that Ukrainian troops had returned fire and also accused separatists of near daily violations of a ceasefire brokered last year that has been left in tatters.
After an uptick in violence in the beginning of the year, Russia in April amassed 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders, raising fears of a major escalation in the long-running conflict.
Moscow soon announced a pullback, but both Washington and Kiev say that the withdrawal has been limited.
The war has claimed more than 13,000 lives.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms to support the separatists, which Moscow has denied.