At least twelve people have been killed in eastern Ukraine as renewed fighting flared up in the volatile region against the backdrop of a ceasefire the government troops and pro-Russian forces signed last month.
The Tuesday toll in the flashpoint city of Donetsk was one of the highest reported since the signing of the September 5 cease-fire with Ukraine’s military and pro-Russian forces accusing each other of violating the truce.
Also on Tuesday, Ukrainian defense officials said pro-Russian fighters are incessantly trying to capture Donetsk airport.
Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council spokesman, Colonel Andriy Lysenko, said pro-Russians, using tanks, artillery systems and multiple rocket launchers, fired at the main terminal of the airport where Ukrainian government forces have taken up positions.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told a group of delegates from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Tuesday that he wants to see 1,500 observers deployed in eastern Ukraine and at least 29 drones at their disposal.
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 pro-Russians in mid-April.
Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Lugansk held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
Western powers and the Kiev government accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, but the Kremlin denies the accusation.
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