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Ukraine soldier killed in clashes with pro-Russian separatists

  • 2 Dec 2021

Ukrainian army has accused pro-Russian separatists of firing at its positions with grenade launchers and machine guns in the east of the country amid soaring tensions with Moscow.

The latest deaths bring Ukraine's toll in the simmering conflict to 61 since the start of the year, according to an AFP news agency's tally based on official figures. ( AFP )

A Ukrainian soldier has been killed in clashes with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country amid rising tensions with Moscow.

In a statement on Facebook, the Ukrainian army accused separatists of firing at its positions with grenade launchers and machine guns on Thursday. 

Its press service told AFP news agency the soldier was killed on Wednesday and that it had lost six other servicemen in the same zone last month.

The latest deaths bring Ukraine's toll in the simmering conflict to 61 since the start of the year, according to an AFP tally based on official figures, compared to a total of 50 in all of 2020.

Separatists have reported the loss of some 40 fighters since the start of the year.

The incident comes as the West accuses Russia of planning an invasion of Ukraine. Moscow denies the claim and accuses the West of stoking tensions.

READ MORE: Ukraine urges NATO to prepare sanctions to counter Russia's aggression

Border tensions on rise

Kiev has fought a conflict with pro-Russia rebels in its eastern regions since 2014. 

The war erupted shortly after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and has since claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Western countries have for weeks accused Moscow of planning an attack on Ukraine and massing troops near Kiev's borders.

The US this week said it had "evidence" Russia could be planning an invasion, threatening Moscow with economic sanctions if it attacks.

Russia has dismissed the allegations as "hysteria."

READ MORE: Ukraine: Russian-backed forces raising combat readiness in occupied areas

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said Moscow is taking "adequate military-technical measures" in response to what he called a growing threat on its Western border.

He said he wanted "concrete agreements" from NATO that it would not expand eastwards.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms across the border to support the separatists – claims Moscow denies.

READ MORE: Kremlin: Russia won't de-escalate due to Ukrainian troop presence

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