Ukrainian soldier killed in attack near Donetsk airport in east: army
A Ukrainian soldier has been killed in a rebel attack near the ruins of Donetsk airport as clashes have intensified at the key flashpoint, a Ukrainian military spokesman said Tuesday.
It was the first death in fighting reported by the Ukrainian army since mid-October as a fragile truce has dampened down most of the violence that claimed over 8,000 lives in the past 18 months.
"Yesterday, the positions of the Ukrainian army near Pisky and Opytne came under fire that killed one Ukrainian soldier," spokesman Oleksandr Zavtonov told AFP.
Donetsk airport has been one of the most fiercely contested scraps of territory in the conflict and was seized by pro-Russian separatists after an offensive in January.
The area remains one of the main hotspots and both sides repeatedly accuse each other of violating the ceasefire there.
On Tuesday, the rebels accused the Ukrainian army of attacking the ruins of the airport, a claim that the military denied.
"The airport has been under fire for more than an hour. They shot mortars and guns," Eduard Basurin, a rebel military spokesman, told AFP.
Ukrainian spokesman Zavtonov refused to "confirm" that government forces had fired at rebels holding the wrecked airport.
Residents of Oktyabrsky district, located a few kilometres from the airport, for their part, told AFP they heard heavy firing overnight.
"Last night grenade launchers fired and shells flew over the house. This morning we heard mortar fire, the situation has calmed down a bit and I left without waiting for the resumption of fighting," Sergiy, a resident of Oktyabrsky, said.
© 2015 AFP