Ukraine clashes kill four, including three civilians

13th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Three Ukrainian civilians and a soldier were reported killed on Tuesday in the latest wave of fighting across the country's separatist east.

The Ukrainian military said another 10 soldiers were wounded in Grad rocket and mortar attacks by pro-Russian insurgents based around the eastern industrial city of Donetsk.

The upsurge in violence came as the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France ended a meeting Monday without being able to set a date for a hoped-for peace summit on ending the conflict.

The Donetsk adminstration said two civilians were killed in the rebel stronghold overnight. Another person was killed in a small town to the northeast of Donetsk.

"The sounds of gunfire and loud explosions were heard in almost every district of the city" on Tuesday morning, the Donetsk city administration said in a statement.

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the government's military positions had come under attack 84 times since Monday morning -- about six times the usual number recorded in the nine-month war.

The latest casualties were reported after the foreign ministers of Germany and France failed to help their counterparts from Moscow and Kiev bridge their differences over ways to end a conflict that has claimed more than 4,700 lives.

Ukraine accuses Russia of arming the insurgents and refusing to withdraw its own troops from the eastern war zone -- soldiers Moscow denies having ever sent.

Donetsk -- a once bustling city of nearly one million that now stands half vacant and suffering chronic power and water shortages -- has been the target of especially heavy rocket and artillery fire in the past week.

Kiev accuses the rebels of escalating their strikes in order to undermine the chances of Russia agreeing to a settlement that preserves Ukraine's eastern border.


© 2015 AFP

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