“As a result of a shelling, a Ukrainian soldier was fatally wounded by a shell splinter”noted the military authorities of eastern Ukraine.
The armed forces of Ukraine and the pro-Russian separatists once again accused each other of new attacks and of violating the ceasefire in that region. Kiev’s army reported 66 armed incidents as of 7 a.m. Saturday, a particularly high number, while rebels in the separatist stronghold of Donetsk called the situation “critical.”
Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) who monitor this open conflict since 2014 warned on Saturday of a “drastic increase” in violations of the ceasefire.
According to Kyiv, “The armed forces control the situation and continue to carry out their mission to repel and contain the armed aggression of the Russian Federation.”
For their part, the leaders of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, where the front line that divides Ukraine is located, ordered a general mobilization this Saturday, after announcing the evacuation of civilians on Friday.
Russia denies any involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, calling it an internal Ukrainian affair.
He also assures that he has no intention of attacking his pro-Western neighbor, but demands security guarantees such as the withdrawal of NATO from Eastern Europe and a brake on its enlargement, which the West rejects.
Despite announcements of Russian troop withdrawals from the border, US President Joe Biden said on Friday that he was “convinced” that Putin had decided to invade Ukraine and that the multiplication of incidents in the east of that country seeks to create a “false justification” to launch their attack in the coming week or days.
But as long as there is no invasion, “diplomacy is always a possibility”Biden said announcing a meeting between his Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov next Thursday.