Published: Tue, February 18, 2020

Soldier killed as violence flares-up in eastern Ukraine

Soldier killed as violence flares-up in eastern Ukraine

The violence is some of the worst since a Paris summit in December, where parties tried to implement a peace deal between the fighting factions.

The chief of the General Staff, Ruslan Khomchak, announced this to Ukrainian News Agency.

But the separatists said that Kyiv had attacked first, stating that a group of Ukrainian soldiers had tried to break through their lines, but had stumbled into a minefield, with two fighters losing their lives.

"This is not just a cynical is an attempt to disrupt the peace process in the Donbass, which had begun to move though small but continuous steps", Zelenskiy said in a statement.

Zelenskyy also said he would call a meeting of his Security Council to discuss the situation.

The Ukrainian joint forces operation headquarters, which commands government troops in the area, insisted that Russian-backed soldiers were to blame for the incident, which has led to fears of another eruption of fighting.

The Ukrainian forces have been fighting against pro-Russian separatists for six years in a conflict that has killed over 13,000 and displaced 1.5 million people.

"He promised to bring peace to eastern Ukraine; it was one of his biggest election promises", Vaessen said.

"Our policy to end this war remains unchanged, as well as our resolve to answer to any military attack against Ukraine", the president added.

Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Moscow, said the attack occurred in the early morning at a crucial location near a demilitarised zone, describing it as the heaviest fighting to take place since the peace process was renewed after Zelenskyy took office in May past year.

"Reports of this morning on military escalation in the proximity of the Zolote area, w [ith the] use of weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements leading to casualties, are extremely worrying", Ambassador of the European Union to Ukraine and Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Matti Maasikas said on Twitter on February 18. Ukraine and Russian Federation have implemented some confidence-building measures, including prisoner swaps and phased troop withdrawals in designated areas.

Moscow said it was investigating the cause of the incident although did not indicate what it thought had triggered it.

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