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Ukraine announces the death of one of its soldiers in clashes with Russian separatists

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On Saturday, the Ukrainian army announced the death of one of its members in confrontations with Pro-Russian separatists In the east of the country, tensions reached a peak with Moscow.

This is the first soldier killed since the two sides in war reverted to a ceasefire agreement last month, in a conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives since 2014.

In a statement, the Ukrainian army announced that a “soldier was fatally wounded”, accusing the separatists of carrying out three attacks in the past 24 hours.

Kiev is fighting a pro-Moscow rebellion in two breakaway regions bordering Russia since 2014, when the Kremlin annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Russia is accused of providing financial and military support to the separatists in this conflict, which Moscow denies.

On December 22, the parties in conflict agreed to reinstate the ceasefire agreement reached in July 2020 in eastern Ukraine, but the next day Kiev and the separatists accused each other of new violations.

The already deteriorated relations between Russia and Ukraine have reached the current peak of tension.

For more than a month, the West has accused Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border with the aim of a possible invasion of Kiev.

Moscow denies any intention to invade Ukraine and says it is threatened by the “provocations” of Kiev and NATO, which pretends not to expand into the former Soviet republics. These requests will be discussed during the Russian-US negotiations scheduled for next January.

In a related context, US President Joe Biden is expected to speak with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call on Sunday.

In his New Year’s address to the Ukrainians, Zelensky stressed that an end to the war in East remained its “main focus”.

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