Fighting in eastern Ukraine continues despite talks

World Today

Russian General Alexander Lentsov speaks with Ukrainian General Alexander Rozmaznin in Shyrokyne village, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, April 9, 2015. The OSCE also reported intense mortar fire outside the village of Shyrokyne by the Azov Sea but said its representatives were repeatedly barred from accessing the village on Sunday, April 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) Russian General Alexander Lentsov speaks with Ukrainian General Alexander Rozmaznin in Shyrokyne village, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, April 9, 2015. The OSCE also reported intense mortar fire outside the village of Shyrokyne by the Azov Sea but said its representatives were repeatedly barred from accessing the village on Sunday, April 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Fighting raged overnight and in the early hours on Tuesday on the outskirts of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine despite an agreement reached by the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers a day earlier.

The yearlong military conflict between Russian-backed rebels and government forces has claimed more than 6,000 lives and left large parts of Ukraine’s once industrial heartland in ruins.

Fighting in the east had largely subsided following a cease-fire deal signed in February but has rekindled in recent days.

Heavy shelling was heard in Donetsk late Monday evening and in the early hours on Tuesday. Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a televised briefing that six troops were killed and 12 wounded in a 24-hour period, while rebels reported one fighter dead and five wounded in the overnight clashes.

The death toll is the highest since the February cease-fire was signed.

Lysenko also reported civilian casualties, including two teenagers who were wounded in shelling in the Horlivka area, north of Donetsk.

Russia and Ukraine agreed in Berlin on Monday to call for the pullback of smaller-caliber weapons from the front lines of the conflict that has claimed more than 6,000 lives.

On the ground, however, even the previous agreement that called for a cease-fire and a withdrawal of large-caliber weaponry appeared to be shaky.

Report by the Associated Press.