03:16 GMT +320 April 2019
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    A Ukrainian serviceman wears a mask depicting a skull on September 23, 2014 on armored personnel carrier (APC) in a suburb of the eastern town Debaltseve in the region of Donetsk

    Ukrainian Army Carrying Out Massed Attacks Against Donbass Militia Positions

    © AFP 2019 / ANATOLII STEPANOV
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    The Ukrainian army has carried out near-simultaneous strikes on over half a dozen positions across eastern Ukraine's self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic, breaking the shaky ceasefire deal, RIA Novosti news agency reports, citing the press service of the LPR's People's Militia.

    Lugansk militia reports that Kiev-backed forces are carrying out their attacks using emplaced artillery, RPGs, mortars and small arms. They add that militia positions have been fired on in seven different positions in a 24 hour period.

    "As of 11:00 am [9 am GMT] the situation remains tense. In the direction of Debaltsevo, the enemy has not stopped its attempts to advance," the militia report said.

    Earlier, Lugansk militia reported repulsing an attempt by the Ukrainian army to break through in the area around the village of Kalinovka. Ukrainian forces were reported to have lost ten killed and twenty wounded, with two militiamen injured and two reported missing.

    In April 2014, Kiev launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. The republics proclaimed independence following a coup in Kiev in February 2014. According to the United Nations, the civil war has claimed the lives of over ten thousand people, including several thousand civilians. Millions more have been internally displaced, or forced to flee abroad.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to hand over weapons and military vehicles to servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chuhuiv outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, October 15, 2016
    © REUTERS / Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service
    In February 2015, Kiev forces and the militia agreed to a ceasefire brokered by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The 13-point deal stipulates the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact, prisoner exchange and constitutional reforms in Ukraine which would grant special status to the DPR and LPR. The ceasefire has generally held since early 2015, although Kiev forces, including nationalist formations part of the National Guard and foreign mercenaries, have been repeatedly accused of breaching it. Kiev has also refused to make the necessary constitutional changes.

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    Tags:
    ceasefire breach, fighting, militia, Lugansk militia, Lugansk People's Republic, Ukrainian army, Lugansk Region, Ukraine
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