Intense artillery exchanges between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists persisted on Monday around a strategic town in eastern Ukraine.
The ongoing fighting threatens to dash a cease-fire deal brokered by European leaders last week.
“Despite the cease-fire that went into effect early Sunday morning, five Ukrainian troops were killed and 25 wounded in the past 24 hours,” Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.
“112 incidents of shelling is not a cease-fire. So we are not ready yet to withdraw,” Lysenko told reporters.
Under a cease-fire agreement negotiated by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, the warring sides are to begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line on Tuesday.
That plan is at risk, with the rebels saying they are not satisfied that conditions are in place for the process to go ahead.
The deputy commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said in a televised news conference on Monday that the government launched an artillery strike overnight on Horlivka, a town under rebel control.
“We suspect that the junta (referring to the Kiev authorities) are planning to open fire, thus provoking return actions, in order to record our (alleged) violation of the Minsk accords and accuse us of disrupting them,” Eduard Basurin, deputy defense minister for the Donetsk People’s Republic said speaking to journalists in Donetsk.
Report compiled with information from The Associated Press
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