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Ukraine Military Says Separatists Violated Month-Old Ceasefire

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DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine's military accused Russian-backed separatists of fresh violations of a month-old ceasefire on Sunday, saying their forces came under attack in several parts of the east, including the airport at the big city of Donetsk. Two Ukrainian service staff were killed in the past 24 hours and six others were wounded, military spokesman Volodymyr Polyovy told a news conference in the capital Kiev, adding: "The terrorists are violating the terms of the ceasefire."

In Donetsk, where strategic buildings are controlled by separatists, a senior rebel official, Eduard Basulin, said three separatist fighters were killed and another 32 wounded in the past 24 hours, mainly in fighting around Donetsk airport. Rebels have been trying for weeks to dislodge government troops from the airport, which, with a modernized runway capable of taking heavy transporters, has strategic value. "The airport is a springboard for the city," Basulin told Reuters. "Our main task is to push them (government forces) away from the city so that they can no longer shell residential districts. "

Polyovy said there was also fighting around the towns of Debaltseve and Shchastye both further east towards the border with Russia. Basulin said three civilians had also been killed in Donetsk area in the past 24 hours and he blamed Ukrainian forces for shelling the city's outskirts from positions adjacent to the airport. The Ukrainian military denies firing on civilian targets and says it only replies to fire when it is attacked by separatists.

IN-DEPTH

— Reuters

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