Ukraine soldier killed in rebel east: army
A Ukrainian soldier was killed on the frontline in fighting with pro-Russian separatists in the east, the army said Tuesday, its first fatality in nearly a week as shelling rumbles on despite a ceasefire deal.
"In the past 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and another one wounded" in the village of Pisky near the airport of the key separatist-held city of Donetsk, army spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a news conference around 1000 GMT.
It was the first combat death recorded among the Ukrainian forces since April 15, when the army said one soldier was killed. Another six had been killed and 12 injured in a surge in fighting the day before that.
On Tuesday Lysenko said "the situation is stable but tense" overall.
European OSCE observers reported ongoing heavy arms fire by both sides at the front between the Ukrainian government forces and the pro-Russian side over recent weeks despite a February ceasefire agreement.
With spring arriving, the observers hope a fresh surge in fighting can be avoided while a solution is sought to the deadly conflict.
They are particularly concerned about the flashpoint village of Shyrokyne, which lies near the strategic government-held city of Mariupol.
The OSCE said Monday the Ukrainian military had drawn up proposals for a withdrawal of forces on both sides from Shyrokyne, where it says the few dozen civilians who have not fled are suffering from a lack of food and water.
The plan has yet to be approved by Kiev and separatist leaders.
The United Nations says more than 6,100 people have been killed and more than a million displaced in the crisis in Ukraine in the past year.
Kiev and the West say there is mounting evidence that Russia is arming and sending fighters to help the separatists, who have taken control of parts of the east -- a charge Russia denies.
Moscow accuses the West of backing an uprising against Ukraine's former pro-Moscow leader Viktor Yanukovych, whose ousting last year preceded the separatist revolt.
© 2015 AFP