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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 556
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
At Least 7 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, 13 Wounded, As 'Ceasefire' Deadline Approaches
5 years

Reuters reports that according to Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksander Motuzyanyk 7 Ukrainian soldiers have been killer and 13 wounded over the last 24 hours, the highest single day of losses since mid July. At least one civilian was also killed.

Motuzyanyk said that at least 5 soldiers were killed near Mariupol, and he indicated that this may be the beginning of a new phase of heavy fighting. Ukraine Today reports:

"We have suffered very serious losses in this sector, which we will report later," military spokesman Yaroslav Chepurnoy said. "This looks like the work of the professional Russian army."

...

UNIAN reports: Ukrainian military spokesmen have said combined Russian-separatist forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in eastern Ukraine 90 times overnight, using banned artillery systems 14 times, mortars 31 times, tank shells five times and multiple rocket launchers once.

The situation in the Donbas conflict zone deteriorated significantly by the end of August 26.

Russian-led militant groups violated Minsk agreements and used weapons of more than 100mm caliber along the demarcation line, the spokesmen said.




Ukrainian military spokesmen report escalation of fighting

A Pro-Russian fighter stands guard in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, June 21, 2014, with a statue of Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin in the background (AP Photo) Fighting erupts near strategic port city of Mariupol Ukrainian military spokesmen have said combined Russian-separatist forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in eastern Ukraine 90 times overnight, using banned artillery systems 14 times, mortars 31 times, tank shells five times and multiple rocket launchers once.

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Aug 27, 2015 18:29 (GMT)

Meanwhile, the Trilateral Contact Group, which met in Minsk yesterday, has agreed to a tentative ceasefire which would go into effect on September 1 -- five days from now. Deutsche Welle reports:

The two sides agreed to establish peace in Ukraine's eastern region and "jointly verify the fulfilment of this [the Minsk deal] initiative," the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) official Martin Sajdik told reporters.


The organization was monitoring meetings between Ukraine, Russia and separatist leaders - the so-called "contact group."

"The three sided 'contact group' considers it important to reach a solid ceasefire from the beginning of the next school year," Sajdik told reporters in Minsk, the Belarusian capital.

"There was a proposal to end shelling from September 1. Today there is a hope that from September 2 we will succeed fully in ending the firing. At the moment all sides have expressed the intention of abiding by this idea," rebel negotiator Vladislav Deinego said.

Ukraine Today adds two more quotes from representatives of the Russian-backed fighters on the prospects of a ceasefire:

Denis Pushilin, Donetsk People's Republic representative:  "I would like to say that overall, in all subgroups, there is a progress, the work process continues, but it takes a long time for political decisions to result in conflict resolution."

Vladislav Deinego, Luhansk People's Republic representative: "A rather interesting, rather balanced proposal was pronounced at these talks - to fully cease shelling as of September 1. This proposal got positive response practically from all sides. And there is hope today that as of September 1 we will manage to stop shelling from both sides."

Reuters, which notes that the September 1 truce was negotiated by low-level contacts, adds this detail from the meetings:

Sajdik added the rebels and Kiev officials had agreed to exchange maps and other details that could help lead to a formal temporary truce announcement in coming days.


Fighting has escalated in the immediate lead up to previous to other ceasefires last June, last August, last December and this past February. Also, the conciliatory tone of the Russian-backed separatists after yesterday's meeting, in light of what the OSCE has called an alarming level of fighting over the last 24 hours, is eyebrow-raising. Is Ukraine getting pummeled now so that if they respond to the shelling then they will be blamed for breaking the ceasefire?

-- James Miller