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East Ukraine's militia claim Kiev forces intensify military action

April 21, 2015, 15:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the leader of Ukraine's Donetsk republic, militia fighters standing guard at the contact line are suffering casualties

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A sheel seen in eastern Ukraine (archive)

A sheel seen in eastern Ukraine (archive)

© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

MOSCOW, April 21. /TASS/. Ukrainian military action has violated ceasefire arrangements in war-torn eastern territory nearly 40 times over the last 24 hours, a Defense Ministry spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said on Tuesday.

Various weapons are said to have been used by Kiev forces to shell residential areas and suburbs, the spokesman said, according to a Donetsk News Agency report.

Territory was attacked 20 times by grenade launchers and small arms, 14 times by mortars and twice by tanks, the spokesman said. Armored personnel carriers, infantry vehicles and an anti-aircraft installation had also opened fire.

Shelling has been recorded near the settlements of Shirokino, Spartak, Zhabichevo Gorlovka, Donetsk airport and Oktyabrsky village, the official added. Information about casualties was being verified and despite continuing provocations, fire was not being returned.

Donetsk republic head Alexander Zakharchenko said on Tuesday that Ukrainian government forces had intensified military action against local militias over the past week.

"On April 15 and 16 alone, eight attacks by various Ukrainian units were repelled from Ukrainian armed forces and volunteer battalions," Zakharchenko told the news agency, denouncing Kiev’s assurances that its forces were complying with the Minsk ceasefire agreements as "a blatant lie".

Donetsk militiamen standing guard at the contact line are consistently suffering casualties, he said.

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