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Ukraine soldier killed in clashes despite ceasefire

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Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) – One soldier has been killed and another wounded in eastern Ukraine, the army said Monday, as it accused rebels of breaking a new truce deal announced at the weekend.

Ukraine’s military spokesman Leonid Matyukhin said Russian-backed rebels had shelled his troops “on all fronts”, resulting in one death and one injury over the past 24 hours.

But a military spokesman from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Eduard Basurin, told AFP that the truce had largely held since midnight with “almost no attacks.”

The fresh clashes cast a shadow over the new ceasefire deal announced after the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France held talks in Munich on Saturday.

The agreement brought renewed hope of an end to 34 months of conflict in which nearly 10,000 people have been killed.

The conflict flared up again earlier this month with several dozen people killed around the flashpoint town of Avdiivka and both sides shifting heavy weaponry forward.

Under the Minsk plan — agreed in the Belarussian capital in 2015 — the warring parties are meant to withdraw their big guns to create a buffer zone along the frontline.

Both sides have repeatedly violated the Minsk agreement and little progress has been made towards a political resolution of the conflict.

Ukraine accuses its neighbour Russia of launching the war in retaliation for the ouster of Kiev’s Moscow-backed president in 2014.

Russia however denies any role in the conflict.



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