1 Feb 2015

Ukraine death toll mounts after peace talks collapse

At least seven civilians and 13 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in fighting in the past 24 hours, Kiev authorities say, reporting widespread clashes with Russian-backed separatists.

A further 20 soldiers were wounded in the clashes, spokesman Volodymyr Polyovy told reporters, a day after peace talks collapsed. The spokesman added that fighting was still ongoing “across all sections of the frontline”.

The civilian and military death toll has mounted in the past two weeks after rebels launched a new offensive. Hopes of de-escalation evaporated yesterday with Ukraine‘s representative and separatist envoys accusing the other of sabotaging negotiations.

Read more: At least 30 dead as rebels 'launch attack' on Mariupol

“There is no question of encirclement or cutting off of the main communication lines…the situation is under control,” he said.


The Ukrainian town of Debaltseve has been without power, water and gas for at least 10 days, prompting many to flee the intense artillery duel. The interior ministry said a further seven civilians had been killed in the area in shelling today.

In rebel-held Donetsk, there were reports of at least one death after a shell struck a wall nearby.

Ukraine, Russia and separatist envoys met for peace talks under the auspices of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Minsk, Belarus, yesterday.

But the talks ended without any agreement for a new ceasefire and with Ukrainian and separatists reproaching each other for undermining the talks.