Two Ukrainian Soldiers Killed in Fresh Clashes in Troubled East amid Rising Kiev-Moscow Tensions
Story Code : 926854
According to Ukrainian armed forces, a soldier was killed on Saturday when pro-Russia forces opened fire with small arms, while another "received a gunshot bullet wound incompatible with life" on Monday.
In recent weeks, tensions have mounted between Moscow and Kiev amid a spike in violence in the Russian-speaking eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces have fought a conflict that has killed 14,000 people since 2014.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis by supporting the militants with weapons and troops, a charge Moscow strongly denies.
The Kremlin has time and again stressed the necessity of seeking a political solution to the deadly conflict.
The recent clashes come as Ukraine has accused Russia of massing thousands of military personnel on its northern and eastern borders as well as on the Crimean Peninsula.
On Monday, Yulia Mendel, Press Secretary of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Russia has 41,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border and 42,000 soldiers on the Crimean peninsula.
Mendel also said that Zelensky had sent a query to the Kremlin in late March requesting talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the escalating conflict, but was yet to receive an answer.
"We hope that President Vladimir Putin does not refuse dialogue," Mendel said.
However, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied that Moscow had received a request for talks.
"I am not aware of any such enquiries in recent days," he said.
Ukraine and the US-led NATO have already expressed their concern over what they describe as a large Russian military build-up across the Rostov region, which borders Ukraine’s breakaway regions.