Thursday, June 4, 2015

Fierce fighting is raging between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, officials on both sides say

June 4, 2015 (BBC News Europe) The clashes - said to involve heavy artillery and tanks - are taking place in Maryinka and Krasnohorivka, outside the rebel-held city of Donetsk. There were reports of multiple injuries in the towns held by Ukraine's army. Ukraine accused the rebels of launching a full-scale offensive in violation of a truce. The separatists deny this.

"Krasnohorivka and Maryinka are in flames. There is a close-contact fighting taking place along the entire line of contact. Militants are trying to break through," wrote Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Deydey, who acts as a liaison official for the government's Kiev-1 battalion. "Praying for our boys," Mr Deydey added on his blog. More than 20 government soldiers were wounded during the intense fighting, unconfirmed reports say. Ukraine's military later accused the rebels of staging a full-scale offensive, in violation of the Minsk agreements.
The exact number of dead might only emerge with time, but both sides appear to have taken significant losses. Who is now in control of Maryinka is unclear. Earlier, a Ukrainian commander told us his troops had lost control of the town. Then Ukraine's defence minister said his forces were holding their ground. But a rebel commander has now told us that the rebels have taken control. 
If Maryinka has been taken by the rebels, it would appear to be the most significant gain in territory since the Ukrainian military lost control of the town of Debaltseve, just after the Minsk deal was agreed.
Wednesday's violence will sow even more distrust and will shake the confidence of leaders and diplomats in France and Germany, who are trying to work with Russia and Ukraine to broker real peace.