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Poroshenko Promises More Money to Kiev Soldiers Amid Draft Evasion

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Poroshenko wrote on his Instagram page that the salary increase will apply to every Kiev soldier who takes a direct part in hostilities starting from February 1, 2015.

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KIEV, January 29 (Sputnik) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has promised an extra 1,000 hryvnias (over $60) a day to every Kiev soldier fighting against independence supporters in the country's southeast amid massive draft evasion.

Poroshenko wrote on his Instagram page that the salary increase will apply to every Kiev soldier who takes a direct part in hostilities starting from February 1, 2015.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian presidential advisor Yuriy Biryukov announced that there was mass evasion of a new draft, which started on January 20 amid Kiev's ongoing military action in the southeastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Fierce fighting between militias and government troops in the region has killed dozens and wounded over a hundred in the past week. At least 30 civilians were killed Saturday in a series of artillery attacks on the port city of Mariupol, with both sides trading blame for the violence.

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At least 27 people died last week in attacks on the city of Donetsk, which has been under Ukrainian army rocket fire over the past few months.

Kiev authorities have admitted that a major security operation has been launched in the Donetsk area, particularly the Donetsk airport located northwest of the city.

Last spring, Kiev launched a military operation in southeastern Ukraine in response to local residents' refusal to recognize the new coup-installed government. A ceasefire agreement has been reached since then, but fighting continues in the region, leading to more civilian casualties.

The United Nations estimates that over 5,000 have been killed in the fighting, while some 1.4 million residents of southeastern Ukraine desperately need humanitarian assistance. According to the World Health Organization, hostilities have destroyed or led to the closure of half of the health care facilities in eastern Ukraine and over 70 percent of health workers have fled the region.

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