Two dead in new outbreak of violence in Ukraine

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Two people – a soldier and a civilian – were killed and two others injured in a new outbreak of hostilities between the army and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, authorities said.

• Read also: President defied by pro-Russian parties in warring eastern Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier was killed and another wounded by mortar fire on Tuesday near the village of Zaïtsevé, north of the separatist “capital” of Donetsk. In a separate incident, a second serviceman was injured in the same area, according to the Defense Ministry.

In the neighboring Lugansk region, a civilian died in a mine explosion in his own backyard on Tuesday, the army said.

Ukraine has faced Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions since 2014, the deadliest war in Europe since those in the Balkans in the 1990s and which began weeks after annexation of the peninsula from Crimea through Moscow.

The conflict has rekindled in recent weeks, with Kiev accusing the separatists of violating the truce that had more or less held since last July.

Ukraine reported 50 soldiers killed in its ranks in the east in 2020 compared to 100 dead the year before.

This war left more than 13,000 dead in total, but hostilities subsided considerably after the Minsk peace accords concluded in February 2015 under Franco-German mediation.

Ukraine and the West accuse Moscow of fueling the conflict to prevent Kiev from approaching the West and providing troops and weapons to the separatists, which Russia fiercely denies.