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Civilians Killed In Eastern Ukraine Following Surge In Shelling


An employee works on a tank turret as armored vehicles are repaired at a Kyiv armored plant on August 14.
An employee works on a tank turret as armored vehicles are repaired at a Kyiv armored plant on August 14.

Three civilians have been killed in eastern Ukraine during what government forces said was record-high shelling since the start of a fragile cease-fire in February.

Authorities in Ukrainian-controlled territory along the front line told AFP that two civilians were killed and 15 more injured as a result of shelling over the past day.

Senior separatist commander Eduard Basurin said that one civilian was killed and another three were injured in Horlivka, that five civilians were injured in Yasynuvata, and that one was injured in Makyivka.

“Over the past 24 hours we recorded the highest level of firing by the illegal armed groups for the past six months," Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on August 15.

Lysenko added that two government soldiers had also been wounded.

Recent fighting has focused on control of a strategic highway linking the government-held southeastern port of Mariupol with Donetsk, which sits to the north.

Most of the road is currently controlled by pro-Kyiv units.

On August 14, Russia and Germany expressed concern about cease-fire violations in eastern Ukraine and the risk of a new escalation in fighting.

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry described it as “a case of dangerous brinksmanship.”

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said on August 14 that its monitors had observed the use of heavy weapons, tanks, and smaller-caliber weapons.

The OSCE said that most of the violence observed took place in residential areas, endangering civilian lives.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on August 13 to express “grave concern” about the recent increase in separatist attacks.

More than 6,400 people have been killed in the military conflict between Ukrainian armed forces and pro-Russia separatists in parts of Ukraine's eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk since April 2014.

With reporting by AFP, AP and Interfax
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