2 Ukraine sol­diers killed ahead of sep­a­ratist polls

Oman Daily Observer - - EUROPE -

KIEV: Two sol­diers were killed in war-torn eastern Ukraine, the mil­i­tary said on Satur­day, as sep­a­ratists pre­pared to hold elec­tions in de­fi­ance of the West.

“Over the past 24 hours, two sol­diers re­ceived fa­tal wounds as a re­sult of hos­til­i­ties,” Ukrainian mil­i­tary spokesman Olek­sandr Mo­tuzyanyk told a brief­ing.

The sol­diers were at­tacked near the rebel-con­trolled city of Lu­gansk, with the sep­a­ratists us­ing heavy weapons in­clud­ing large-cal­i­bre mor­tars, he said.

A se­ries of pe­ri­odic truces have helped lower the level of vi­o­lence in two break­away provinces in Ukraine’s in­dus­trial east but have not fully ended the blood­shed.

On Sun­day, the self­pro­claimed Donetsk and Lu­gansk “Peo­ple’s Republics” are to hold elec­tions de­spite Western calls on Rus­sia to can­cel the bal­lot so as not to fur­ther sab­o­tage peace agree­ments.

The United States and the Euro­pean Union say the polls will fur­ther un­der­mine ef­forts to set­tle a cri­sis that has killed more than 10,000 peo­ple since 2014. — AFP

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