Portugal Colonial - Ukraine and separatists trade claims of new shelling

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Ukraine and separatists trade claims of new shelling
Ukraine and separatists trade claims of new shelling

Ukraine and separatists trade claims of new shelling

The Ukrainian military and their Russian-backed separatist foes traded allegations of fresh ceasefire breaches on Friday, a day after the shelling of a kindergarten sent international tensions soaring.

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The Ukrainian joint command centre for the eastern front said the rebels had violated the ceasefire 20 times between midnight and 9.00 am while the Donetsk and Lugansk separatist groups said the army had fired 27 times.

The reported attacks came one day after a shell blast tore a hole in the wall of a kindergarten in the government-held eastern village of Stanytsia-Luganska.

The 20 children and 18 staff inside escaped unharmed, but the incident redoubled fears that Russia may be escalating the conflict while seeking a pretext to invade Ukraine.

The conflict in Ukraine's east has rumbled on for eight years, claiming the lives of more than 14,000 people and forcing more than 1.5 million from their homes.

But the latest upticks in violence are being watched around the world, with the United States and its NATO allies alleging that the Kremlin is looking for an excuse to invade.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported 189 ceasefire violations in the eastern Donetsk region on Thursday, up from 24 the previous day.

It counted 402 ceasefire violations in the smaller neighbouring Lugansk region, up from 129 on Wednesday.

Russian-backed separatists control the eastern parts of both regions.