Ukraine soldier killed by landmine in separatist east

19th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Ukrainian soldier was killed, and another injured, after stepping on a land mine in the war-torn separatist east, but a new ceasefire deal remains in place, a military spokesman said Saturday.

"One soldier was killed and another injured" in the Lugansk region, but the new truce, which came into force on September 1, "is being respected," said Ukrainian spokesman for military issues Andriy Lysenko.

Almost all the Ukrainian soldiers who died this month were killed by mines, according to official figures,

On Friday the military reported two deaths and five injuries in two separate incidents in the restive east of the country where pro-Russian rebels are seeking autonomy from Kiev.

The separatist authorities for their part on Saturday accused the army of having used heavy weapons in the Donetsk region for the first time since the new ceasefire took hold, according to the rebels' DAN news agency.

The new ceasefire in Ukraine's war-torn east has stilled much of the fighting that had rumbled on in hotspots despite an earlier truce deal in February.

The move is the latest attempt to stop a conflict that has killed some 8,000 people since April 2014 and left almost 18,000 wounded, according to UN figures.

Russia portrays its western neighbour's conflict as a "civil war" in which it has played no part.

The fighting was preceded by Russia's March 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg will on Monday make his first visit to Ukraine, where he will meet President Petro Poroshenko, the alliance said in a statement on Friday.

© 2015 AFP

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