Ukraine accuses Russia of cross-border shelling

Ukraine Friday accused Russia of carrying out cross-border shelling against Ukrainian positions in the eastern part of the country even as pro-Russian separatists put the toll in the ongoing conflict at 5,000.

Kiev: Ukraine Friday accused Russia of carrying out cross-border shelling against Ukrainian positions in the eastern part of the country even as pro-Russian separatists put the toll in the ongoing conflict at 5,000.

"Over the past day, for the first time since the signing of the Minsk agreements, we recorded a resumption of shelling of Ukrainian territory from the territory of the Russian Federation," Andrei Lysenko, a spokesman for the National Security and Defence Council, told a media briefing.

He said the cross-border shells were fired from Manotsky, a village in Russia's Rostov region, against Kamyshnoe, a village in Ukraine's Lugansk region, which lies near the crossing checkpoint on the joint frontier between the two neighbouring countries, Xinhua reported.

Besides, Lysenko again accused Russia of aiding independence-seeking insurgents with weapons and sending troops to combat areas of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The accusations came as fierce fighting resumed in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after the ceasefire agreement signed by the Ukrainian government and insurgent leadership in September practically collapsed.

Over the past 24 hours, one government soldier was killed and 18 others wounded in confrontation with rebels, according to the press service of the Ukrainian military operation.

In addition, two civilians were killed in eastern Ukraine in the past one day, the press service said in a statement on its official Facebook page, without giving details.

Meanwhile, Gennady Moskal, head of the Lugansk Regional Administration, wrote on his website that seven civilians, aged between 17 and 51, were wounded during a bombardment in the residential area of Shchastie town in the region.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has been raging since mid-April, with Kiev consistently accusing Russia of aiding the rebels, a charge which Moscow firmly denies.

The violence escalated earlier this month after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked the parliament to repeal the law that grants "special status" to Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Following the move, the insurgents said they would not observe the Minsk peace protocol and demanded new ceasefire talks with Ukrainian authorities.

Also Friday, a memorial service was held in Kiev to commemorate those who lost their lives in the violent upheaval that started a year ago.

According to a report by Efe news agency, authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine Friday said almost 5,000 people have been killed in the armed conflict that broke out last April between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian Army.

Donetsk parliament speaker Andrei Purgin told the Russian Interfax news agency the number of fatalities was close to 5,000.

He dismissed the possibility of an agreement with the authorities in Kiev that would keep the separatist regions in the east within Ukraine, even with a special status for the breakaway republics.

“With that number of deaths, what federal state can be negotiated?,” he asked.

Purgin also condemned the bombing of residential areas in the DPR.

Separatists in Donetsk Friday said that, over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian army gunfire continued pounding residential neighbourhoods of the regional capital.

According to the DPR ministry of emergency, six residential buildings were damaged as a result of these attacks.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military said a soldier was killed and 18 were wounded in the latest clashes in eastern Ukraine.

The army also denounced new attacks by the pro-Russian separatists against the airport in Donetsk, the greatest source of tension since the outbreak of the conflict.

Thursday, the UN reported that the armed conflict in Ukraine had killed 4,317 people and left 9,921 injured.

Despite a ceasefire agreed Sep 5, hostilities have not stopped in the east of the country and an average of 13 people have died each day, according to the UN.



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