Four killed in fresh east Ukraine clashes

first_imgKiev on Thursday said four soldiers had been killed and 14 injured in renewed clashes with pro-Russian insurgents in the former Soviet country’s separatist east.Military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters that the losses came in Lugansk – the smaller of the two separatist provinces in Ukraine to have fallen under partial militia control in the past 16 months of conflict.An upsurge in fighting that began last week in neighbouring Donetsk and killed 10 people on Sunday has raised renewed fears of full-scale warfare returning to the edge of the European Union’s unstable eastern front. Also Read – Nine hurt in accident at fireworks show in French resortGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande – co-sponsors of an increasingly tattered six-month-old truce – will meet Ukraine’s Western-backed leader Petro Poroshenko in Berlin on Monday in a bid to rescue the deal.The meeting will notably omit President Vladimir Putin – the Kremlin leader who persistently denies any involvement in the crisis and calls Russian soldiers discovered in the war zone “volunteers”.Putin’s absence is seen as a diplomatic snub designed to underscore Western concern and anger at the return of more serious hostilities after a months-long lull that helped contain the bloodshed to just a handful of hotspots.NATO on Wednesday warned the separatists against grabbing more territory and stressed that Moscow had a “special responsibility” for restoring peace. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded by expressing hope the meeting with Merkel and Hollande “will be instructional” for Poroshenko and result in the agreed-upon withdrawal of Ukraine’s biggest weapons from the frontline.last_img read more