Ukraine and Russia trade accusations of shelling

New Delhi: Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed rebels in the country’s east have traded fresh accusations of shelling and other ceasefire violations, The Guardian reported.

Ukraine’s ministry of defence says it has recorded 60 ceasefire violations by separatists in the Donbas region over the past 24 hours, with one soldier injured, according to its ministry of defence.

Ukraine’s commander of the Joint Forces, lieutenant general Alexander Pavlyuk, claimed Russia-backed troops have increased provocative actions in a bid to provoke Ukraine’s armed forces to fire, the report said.

Russia’s defence ministry claims to have withdrawn several infantry units from Crimea. The tanks are said to have returned to their bases in the regions of Dagestan and Chechnya after completing drills in Crimea.

Russia’s Interfax news agency said the Luhansk self-proclaimed rebel republic reported several incidents of mortar fire on Friday morning.

However, the Kyiv government hit back saying the rebels fired artillery or mortars four times on Friday, The Guardian reported.

Separately, the Ukrainian military said in a statement late on Thursday that it had no plans to launch an offencive on the rebels’ positions or shelling of civilians and would “strictly adhere to the Minsk agreements and norms of international humanitarian law”.

“Our actions are purely defensive,” said Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Valery Zaluzhny.

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