Thursday 2 July 2015

Four troops die as attacks increase

Published 02/07/2014 | 12:52

A pro-Russia fighter stands guard at a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine (AP)
A pro-Russia fighter stands guard at a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine (AP)

Four Ukrainian troops have been killed as forces carried out more than 100 attacks on rebel positions and cleared separatists from three villages in the last 24 hours, a military official said.

Fighting in the country's east has increased since a much-violated 10-day ceasefire was allowed to expire on Monday.

President Petro Poroshenko said conditions for further peace talks had not been met as rebels refused to disarm, hand back seized border posts or allow international monitoring.

National security and defence council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said three military personnel died in rebel attacks on government vehicles and checkpoints and 10 were wounded.

The federal border guards said one guardsman was killed when the Novoazovsk crossing point came under attack by rebels with mortars in the Donetsk region.

Donetsk is one of two eastern regions where Ukrainian forces are fighting pro-Russia separatists.

The insurrection broke out after pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office in February by protesters wanting closer ties with the European Union.

Calling Mr Yanukovych's removal a coup, Russia seized and annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March. Now Ukraine accuses Russia of arming and supporting the separatists in eastern Ukraine, something Russia denies.

Border posts have become a key issue, since Ukraine and the United States say military equipment and reinforcements are flowing across the border from Russia into Ukraine.

Ukraine said it recaptured a key border post on Tuesday from the rebels at Dovzhanskiy. The guards service said the insurgents had mined the post with explosives.

The Dovzhanskiy crossing was one of three that Mr Poroshenko had unsuccessfully demanded the rebels return as a condition of extending the ceasefire and continuing peace talks.

Press Association

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