At least 34 civilians have been killed in clashes between the Ukrainian army troops and pro-Russia forces in the country’s restive eastern Donetsk Province over the past 24 hours, local officials say.
“Over the past day as a result of military hostilities, 34 residents of the region died and another 29 were wounded,” the Donetsk regional administration said in a statement on Wednesday.
The development comes as overnight fighting in the town of Ilovaysk in the east of Donetsk has left nine Ukrainian soldiers dead.
Kiev is zeroing in on pro-Moscow activists in their two important eastern bastions of Donetsk and Lugansk. This is while the humanitarian situation on the ground is worsening in the two regions as they have been suffering from the lack of water and power supplies for weeks now.
The UN says more than 2,000 people have been killed in the four-month conflict gripping the former Soviet state.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Russians.
Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
Nine Ukrainian troops killed near volatile Donetsk
At least nine Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in overnight fighting in the town of Ilovaysk, located in the east of the volatile city of Donetsk, a top official says.
Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security Council, said on Wednesday that fresh clashes between the Ukrainian army troops and pro-Russia forces have left 9 soldiers dead and 22 others wounded.
The Kiev government troops have taken control of half of the town, located 18 kilometers (11 miles) east of Donetsk, and are currently facing fierce resistance from the pro-Russians, Lysenko added.
According to the latest reports, heavy fighting has also broken out in the volatile Ukrainian city of Lugansk. The government forces have regained parts of the city which is considered as one of the strongholds of the pro-Russia activists.
Tens of thousands of civilians, suffering from acute shortages of water and electricity, have fled the government’s military operations in the east.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since the government in Kiev launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush the pro-Moscow protests.
The political unrest in eastern Ukraine has so far claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people, according to figures by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Nearly 300,000 people have been also forced to flee their homes due to fierce fighting in the east, the UN says.
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