7 civilians, 2 troops dead in eastern Ukraine as shelling increases between govt, rebels

A night-long artillery exchange in eastern Ukraine between government troops and Russia-backed rebels claimed nine lives on Monday, casting doubt on the already shaky cease-fire.

DONETSK, Ukraine — A night-long artillery exchange in eastern Ukraine between government troops and Russia-backed rebels claimed nine lives on Monday, casting doubt on the already shaky cease-fire.

The fighting between Russia-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian government troops in the country’s industrial heartland eased after a truce was signed in February. But despite pledges to withdraw heavy calibre weapons from the front lines, both sides seem to be engaged in recent heavy fighting.

The conflict has killed an estimated 6,400 people since April 2014, according to the United Nations.

The rebel mouthpiece Donetsk News Agency said artillery fire killed three people in a front line town of Horlivka and two in the rebel capital of Donetsk. Ukrainian officials reported two civilian deaths on their side, in a suburb of Mariupol on the Black Sea. The Ukrainian Security and Defence Council also reported two troops killed and six injured overnight.

The shelling on Monday came after failed talks between Ukraine, the rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which were supposed to agree on further steps to withdraw weaponry.

An Associated Press reporter in Donetsk witnessed weaponry on the move in the past few days while salvos of incoming and outgoing Grad rockets were frequently heard.

President Vladimir Putin, who met representatives of various ethnic communities in the Russia-occupied Crimea on Monday, did not comment on the recent shelling. But he used the opportunity to claim that the current Ukrainian government is not free to make its own decisions because the country “is being managed from the outside.”

Putin has alleged that Kyiv’s decisions are heavily influenced by Western powers including the United States.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday accused the Ukrainian government in Kyiv of derailing the recent talks on withdrawal. Lavrov said the uptick in shelling could be the beginning of a new Ukrainian offensive.

“We’re worried about events of the recent days, which look very much like preparation for fresh hostilities,” he said.

OSCE observers warned Saturday about heavy weaponry that has gone missing after it was withdrawn from the front lines. The OSCE monitors were denied access to two locations in rebel-held areas where heavy calibre weapons were supposed to be kept. They were told at one location that 11 Grad multiple rocket launchers had been taken to Donetsk.

Just Posted

Break-in at Red Deer business

Social media reports confirm a business break and enter in Red Deer… Continue reading

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Trudeau rules out snap election call, national ballot slated for Oct. 21

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be no early… Continue reading

Canadian firm says it has found largest diamond ever unearthed in North America

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian mining firm says it has unearthed the largest… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

Most Read