Tension in eastern Ukraine rises again

Russia and Ukraine blame each other over crisis in eastern Ukraine, OSCE puts blames on both sides, and tension climbs up again

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The West and Russia accused each other at a United Nations meeting on Friday as Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists engaged in their first serious conflict on Wednesday after months.

Ukraine’s Presidential spokesman said on Thursday that at least 24 people were killed in the Wednesday’s clashes, including five Ukrainian soldiers, 14 rebels, and five civilians.

As the two fighting sides blamed each other for breaking the ceasefire and civilian casualties, the Deputy Head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) monitoring mission Alexander Hug said both sides were responsible for the situation in the region.

"Civilians continue to bear an unacceptable price in this conflict," said Hug during his speech at the meeting.

"They are killed and wounded, as both sides continue to place military positions in and around civilian infrastructure. Their property and livelihoods have been destroyed."

The Western nations, on the other hand, have been urging Russia to exercise its influence to ensure the Minsk agreement which came into being in Belarus in February.

The Minsk ceasefire agreement had calmed down the situation between the belligerents even if the fragile peace was violated by both Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol.  

Another call “stop supporting separatists” came from United States President Barack Obama and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, after their meeting ahead of a G7 summit where the Western leaders were set to discuss the crisis, according to the White House.

“Obama and Poroshenko once more called on Russia and the separatists it backs to abide strictly by the terms of the February Minsk implementation plan," said the White House.

However, Russia blamed Kiev for violating the Minsk agreement and putting civilians at risk.

Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, rejected the Western claims and warned the nations of situation in the region might get worse.

"If we allow Kiev to continue... the situation could fall out of control," said Churkin.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian army on Friday said they pushed back the Russian-backed separatists from the town of Maryinka after two days of fighting.

The army said they started a clearing operation in the southwest of Donetsk against the separatist rebels. Furthermore, they said the town of Maryinka was fully under the control of the Ukrainian army.


TRTWorld and agencies