Ukrainian soldier killed in fighting with pro-Russian separatists

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A Ukrainian soldier has been killed and another injured in fighting with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the Ukrainian army has said.

The injured soldier was hospitalized but his life is not in danger, he added.

The death brings the total number of Ukrainian soldiers killed on the front line this year to 65, up from 50 the year before, according to AFP’s assessment based on official information.

The Ukrainian army has accused separatists of firing at its positions with 82-millimeter mortars and grenade launchers.

It comes as tensions between Kiev and Moscow are at an unprecedented level since the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 with Russia accused of plotting an invasion. US intelligence estimates that 100,000 Russian troops are currently stationed along the border with Ukraine.

Moscow denies having war intentions and accuses Ukraine of constituting a “threat” for itself and NATO of wanting to extend to its borders.

NATO and the European Union on Thursday warned Moscow of “massive consequences” if it intervenes militarily in Ukraine, after rejecting Russia’s wish to veto Kiev’s possible alliance membership .

Eastern Ukraine has been at war with the separatists since 2014, with Moscow widely seen as the military sponsor, despite its denials.

The conflict, which claimed more than 13,000 lives, erupted shortly after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.


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