Ukraine’s military suffered its deadliest day since mid-April, heaping further pressure on a shaky truce with pro-Russian militants in its easternmost regions.
Five servicemen were killed in the past 24 hours, four by a land mine and one in an ambush, Defense Ministry spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Wednesday. Twelve were injured, while the separatists target the town of Shyrokyne, near the Mariupol port, he said. The rebels accused Ukraine of breaking the cease-fire 55 times in the past day, including with artillery.
“Ukraine has numerous pieces of evidence that insurgents are systematically violating” the cease-fire, Lysenko said in Kiev. “The enemy is delivering dense fire from heavy weapons -- large-caliber cannons, mortars. Snipers are also at work.”
While the peace accord brokered by Germany and Russia in February has curbed fighting in Ukraine’s yearlong insurgency, the conflict has shown signs of reigniting. Russia blames Ukraine for failing to fulfill the deal, while the government in Kiev say the rebels are breaching the truce on a daily basis. The separatists have threatened to seize more ground.