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

Tickets sold for 2019 Red Deer County farm tour

The Aug. 7 tour will focus on east end of County

Two Albertans will split multi-million-dollar lottery prize

Is one of the mystery winners from Red Deer region?

Motorcyclist dies of injuries

Ponoka RCMP continue to investigate collision

Huge crowds gathering in downtown Toronto for Raptors parade, rally

TORONTO — Jubilant Raptors fans decked out in the team’s gear are… Continue reading

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Opinion: Throwing cold water on fee for calling firefighters

There’s never any upside to adversity. Whether it’s the loss of a… Continue reading

Canadian sports fans have changed since the Blue Jays’ World Series wins

TORONTO — After more than a quarter century since one of the… Continue reading

Henderson wins Meijer LPGA to break Canadian victory record

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Brooke Henderson won the Meijer LPGA Classic on… Continue reading

Franchise fatigue continues with ‘Men in Black’ and ‘Shaft’

LOS ANGELES — Brand familiarity isn’t everything when it comes to attracting… Continue reading

‘Hunger Games’ prequel novel coming in 2020

NEW YORK — A decade after seemingly wrapping up “The Hunger Games,”… Continue reading

Federal cabinet decision on fate of Trans Mountain pipeline due Tuesday

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s $4.5 billion gamble to buy the Trans… Continue reading

Skier, 22 dies after fall on Mount Haig near Castle Mountain Ski Resort

PINCHER CREEK, Alta. — RCMP from the Pincher Creek, Alta., detachment are… Continue reading

4 years in, Trump fondly recalls Trump Tower campaign launch

NEW YORK — It was the escalator ride that would change history.… Continue reading

Most Read