EU Condemns Ukraine Clashes

31 Jan

EU Condemns Ukraine Clashes

The European Union on Tuesday condemned recent clashes in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government forces, calling the fighting a “blatant violation” of the Minsk truce.

“The intense fighting around Avdiivka in the last few days, involving heavy shelling with proscribed weapons and leading to a considerable number of casualties, is a blatant violation of the cease-fire, as stipulated by the Minsk agreements,” the EU said in a statement.

The rebels and government troops began fighting three days ago around the town of Avdiivka. The confrontation escalated Monday night into Tuesday morning with the heaviest shelling seen in months.

Both sides say at least eight people have died in the reignited conflict.

The shelling Monday night damaged an electricity substation in nearby Donetsk, disabling the elevator at the Zasyadko coal mine and temporarily trapping more than 200 mine workers underground.

The miners were freed several hours later when local authorities were able to power the elevator with a back-up generator.

The renewed conflict has cut off water for most of Avdiivka and the town was left without heat in the dead of winter.

Government authorities in Donetsk are reportedly planning an evacuation of 12,000 residents in Avdiivka, though no official plan has been put in place.

In 2015, both sides in the conflict signed a cease-fire and agreed pull back heavy weaponry, but both sides have violated the agreement several times since then.