Three Ukraine soldiers die in clashes in separatist east
Three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 10 wounded in the country’s war-torn east, as clashes tick back up, the army said on Sunday.
Over the past 24 hours pro-Russian separatists fired at Ukrainian positions using large calibre artillery, grenade launchers and drones, the military said in a statement.
The military said two were killed Saturday, along with 10 wounded, while a third died on Sunday.
Most of the attacks took place in the eastern Donetsk region, the statement said.
“There are no victims among the local population,” the Ukrainian military said in an earlier statement.
The Ukrainian army is locked in a conflict with breakaway fighters in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that erupted after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Kiev says at least 53 Ukrainian troops have been killed since the start of the year, compared with a total of 50 the previous year.
The separatists say they have lost more than 30 soldiers since the start of the year.
Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms to support the separatists, which Moscow denies.
On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was conceivable that an “all-out war” with Russia could break out.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed the comment as “apocalyptic”.
On Friday, Russia and Belarus launched military drills involving 200,000 personnel, one of the country’s biggest drills in recent years.
In April, Russia amassed around 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders, raising fears of a major escalation in the protracted conflict. Moscow later announced a pullback.