Three killed in clashes in rebel east Ukraine

13th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

One Ukrainian soldier and two civilians were killed in eastern Ukraine, officials said on Friday, as clashes between government forces and pro-Russian separatists intensified after two months of relative calm.

One soldier was killed by separatists armed with heavy machine guns near the village of Zaitseve, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the de facto rebel capital Donetsk, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists.

Three more servicemen were wounded, he added.

In a separate incident, two men were killed when their car hit a landmine near the government-held town of Mariinka close to the frontline, the interior ministry said in a statement.

After the latest truce took hold in September, fighting dipped to its lowest level since the start of the 19-month conflict but a recent uptick in violence has caused concerns it could unravel.

On Wednesday, Ukraine reported the death of another soldier -- the first fatality over the past two weeks -- highlighting the fragile nature of a ceasefire in Europe's deadliest conflict since the Balkan crisis of the 1990s.

The head of the OSCE's special monitoring mission in Ukraine, Ertugrul Apakan, urged both parties to respect a Western-brokered peace agreement signed in the Belarussian capital Minsk in February.

The Ukraine conflict has killed some 8,000 people and wounded nearly 18,000 since April 2014, according to the United Nations.

© 2015 AFP

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