Ukraine today said it had repelled a rare tank assault by pro-Russian rebels that threatened to erase a shacky ceasefire and dangerously escalate the 16-month war in its breakaway east.
On Sunday each side accused the opposite of shelling across the rebel-held city of Horlivka, north-east of Donetsk.
Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk blamed the attack on rebel “partners in crime”, while the separatists said on their official website that “Ukrainian saboteurs” were responsible for it.
The two self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk launched their revolt shortly after the February 2014 ouster of a Moscow-backed president and Russia’s subsequent seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
Last week, the OSCE submitted reports that the rebels positioned their heavy artillery in Donetsk and shelled civilian towns and Ukraine army positions from Donetsk.
Earlier another military spokesman, Yaroslav Chepurny, said the incident showed that Mariupol city remained under threat from separatists.
One Ukrainian servicemen was killed, one was missing in action and 16 were wounded in the past 24 hours, Lysenko said.
“It is potential OSCE representatives haven’t all the time been goal as a outcome of numerous causes starting from the technical to the calls for of excessive politics, nevertheless we completely are usually not within the mission ending its operation”, he stated in an internet assertion.
“In the occupied territories [of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions] Russian special services are in the process of identifying targets with a high civilian concentration: kindergartens, schools, apartment buildings, infrastructure facilities, etc., scheming the execution of various scenarios of terrorist acts”, Olexandr Turchynov, head of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council, said in a statement published Monday. “If they want peace, they must implement the full ceasefire they agreed in Minsk”.
Tensions are building after more than a year of fighting, which has killed at least 6,700 people, according to the United Nations.
OSCE observers based in the separatist stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine said yesterday that four of their vehicles were destroyed in an apparent arson attack at their hotel.