Ukraine reports two killed in separatist shellingtext_fields
Kyiv: Two members of the Ukrainian armed forces were likely and four others injured in what has been reported as an attack by Russian separatists, the Ukranian army announced. The shelling occured on the front lines of the border on 30 settlements in breach of a running ceasefire agreement.
A group of lawmakers and foreign media visiting the conflict zone came under fire and had to be evacuated to a shelter, a spokesperson for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's party said in a separate statement on Saturday.
Incidents of shelling across the line dividing government forces and separatists increased sharply this week, in what the Ukrainian government called a provocation. It strongly denied suggestions by Russia that Kyiv could launch an offensive in eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian military said on its Facebook page it had recorded 70 ceasefire violations by separatists since the start of the day compared with 66 cases over the previous 24 hours.
Ukraine's Russian-backed breakaway eastern territories have ordered military mobilisations amid a deadly escalation in fighting. Men of fighting age in the self-declared people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk are being put on stand-by. The Russian separatists have accused Ukraine of prompting the aggression by shelling parts of eastern Ukraine.
In the German city of Munich, US Vice-President Kamala Harris told a security conference that if Russia did invade, the US and its allies would impose a "significant and unprecedented economic cost", targeting its financial institutions and key industries, as well as those who aided and abetted such an invasion.
Ukranian President Volodymr Zelensky is on a visit to Munich, amidst rising tensions in his home country. He met with President Boris Johnson of the UK who has echoed the US stand on sanctions and promised to make it difficult for Russian companies to raise capital in the UK if an invasion occurred.
The US estimates there are 169,000-190,000 Russian personnel massed along Ukraine's borders, a figure that includes separatist fighters in Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia is also holding drills in neighbouring Belarus and has also ordered a full drill of all its nuclear-capable forces in a show of strength against the West.