Global alarm over Ukraine fighting as death toll hits 16

The Ukrainian military said one of its soldiers had died overnight while the rebels said two civilians had been killed.

Global alarm over Ukraine fighting as death toll hits 16

World Bulletin / News Desk

The death toll from the latest escalation in fighting in Ukraine rose to 16 on Wednesday as international alarm rang out over the spike in bloodshed in the European Union's back yard.

Government forces and pro-Russian separatists exchanged mortar and grenade fire for a fourth day on Wednesday around the flashpoint town of Avdiivka that sits just north of the rebels' de facto capital Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. 

The clashes have left more than 20,000 people without heat or water in freezing winter weather with no signs of relief in sight.

The sudden surge comes at a potential watershed moment for Ukraine as fears mount in Kiev that staunch US support could be set to wane with President Donald Trump looking to mend ties with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

An emergency UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday called for an immediate end to fighting in a near three-year conflict that has plunged Moscow's relations with the West to a post-Cold War low.

The council expressed "grave concern" about the resumption of serious battles in one of the bloodiest conflicts since the 1990s Balkans wars.

"The intense fighting around Avdiivka in the last few days... is a blatant violation of the ceasefire, as stipulated by the Minsk agreements," the EU said on Tuesday.

The deal signed in the Belarusian capital Minsk in February 2015 has been repeatedly broken but still remains the West's best hope of bringing peace to a country that was once a bridge between Russia and the West.

The war began shortly after Ukraine ousted its Russian-backed president in February 2014 and aligned itself with the West.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Şubat 2017, 13:48