One civilian dead in Ukraine clashes
Fighting close to the strategic eastern Ukraine port of Mariupol, the last major city in the conflict zone controlled by Kiev, claimed one civilian life overnight, police loyal to the government said Friday.
"A male inhabitant of Shyrokyne village died after suffering injuries in shelling" by pro-Russian separatists, Viktoriya Guts, a spokeswoman for Donetsk regional police, told AFP.
Shyrokyne, about 10 kilometres east of the key port of Mariupol, has been the scene of daily skirmishes despite a ceasefire being in place.
Separatists claim to control around 30 percent of the village, with many Ukrainians fearing Mariupol could become the focus of any new offensive in a conflict that has already claimed more than 6,000 lives in 11 months.
The port's fall would create a land bridge between Russia and the Crimea, which relies heavily on Ukraine for water and electricity despite its annexation by Moscow.
Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters on Friday that one Ukrainian soldier had also been wounded overnight Thursday.
"The situation is gradually stabilising," he said.
However, he added that rebels had used mortars and grenade launchers near the rebel stronghold of Lugansk.
Despite the new ceasefire coming into force on February 15, daily clashes have taken place in eastern Ukraine.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) noted in its latest report on Thursday that "fighting continued around Donetsk airport", which fell to the rebels in January after months of fierce fighting.
© 2015 AFP