Ukraine’s president says almost 7,000 civilians killed by war with separatists in the east

Nearly 7,000 civilians have been killed in the war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists since fighting erupted in April last year, the nation’s president said Friday.

KIEV, Ukraine — Nearly 7,000 civilians have been killed in the war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists since fighting erupted in April last year, the nation’s president said Friday.

Speaking before parliament, Petro Poroshenko said that more than 1,000 people remained unaccounted for.

The figures mark a sharp increase from the most recent United Nations tally of around 6,100 people killed.

Addressing an assembly packed with soldiers, Poroshenko said that 1,657 Ukrainian troops had also been killed in combat — which he described as aggression from Russia.

Moscow has always denied supplying separatist rebels with either equipment or manpower, but it has been open in its diplomatic support for the separatists.

Poroshenko said Russian involvement in the war had forced Ukraine to seek to align further with the West.

“Given that the Russian threat is long-term and considering that the aggressive stance and policy of the Russian Federation poses a major threat to national security, the strategy aims to reach full compatibility in the security and defence sectors of Ukraine and NATO,” Poroshenko said.

The uneasy cease-fire that has been in place in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk since mid-February has been marred by regular violations, although the scale of fighting has largely subsided since its peak.

International cease-fire monitors say both parties are violating the peace agreement by deploying heavy weapons near the front-line.

Separatists have been showing off large amounts of their hardware in rehearsal for a military parade to take place later this week in their stronghold of Donetsk. The city is only a few kilometres from the front-line, so deployment of any firepower with a calibre superior to 100 mm would nominally be in violation of the cease-fire deal.

Poroshenko said that the peace deal remained the only option in place for restoring stability to east Ukraine.

“This has enabled some degree of de-escalation in the conflict,” he said. “Every day in which nobody dies is like a feast day for me.”

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Friday that two soldiers had been killed and another 26 injured over the previous day.

In a calculated snub to Russia, Ukraine this year brought its World War II victory celebrations forward by one day to May 8, the date marked in western Europe. Moscow is set to hold a grand military parade Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.

Ukraine has adopted the red poppy as a WWII commemorative symbol at pointed variance with Russia, where wearing the black and orange St. George’s ribbon has been commonplace.

On Friday, a stunt climber scaled a 102-meter Motherland Monument war monument in Kyiv to install a braid of giant artificial poppies around the head of the statue.

Just Posted

The Sylvan Lake Gulls celebrate a sixth inning home run from Nolan Weger on Sunday during a game against the Edmonton Prospects. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Historic opening weekend for Sylvan Lake Gulls

It wasn’t perfect, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Fans… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

Three Hills RCMP recovered stolen copper wire during recent investigation near Kneehill. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Fatal ATV rollover near Innisfail Saturday

A 77-year-old man from Red Deer County died Saturday after an ATV… Continue reading

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. More Canadians are expected to leave their passports at home this summer and hit the road in Canada as the weak loonie and low gas prices prompt a deeper exploration of their own country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Report: Alberta losing residents to other parts of Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down in Alberta, residents are continuing… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Most Read