says Russian special forces involved in attacks on airport in east
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[December 01, 2014]
KIEV (Reuters) - The Ukrainian
military accused Russian special forces on Monday of taking part in
attacks on the strategically important Donetsk airport in eastern
Ukraine, where fighting has intensified in recent days despite a
September ceasefire deal.
Kiev also accused Russia of smuggling ammunition for heavy
artillery into the area to step up the assault.
Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of sending troops and military
equipment to support rebels in the east, where pro-Russian
separatism erupted in April. The Kremlin denies it is involved in
the conflict, which has killed over 4,300 people.
Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said there had been
particularly fierce fighting at the airport of the separatist
stronghold of Donetsk over the weekend and said Russian troops were
"These are Russian special forces. It's already the third day that
they've been trying to do something," he told Reuters by telephone.
There has been continued shelling from both sides, even after a
peace deal signed by Ukraine, Russia and separatist leaders on Sept.
5 under the auspices of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe.
Lysenko said three Ukrainian servicemen had been killed in the past
24 hours in intensified artillery strikes from the rebels that he
linked to the arrival of another large aid convoy from Russia on
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"The new humanitarian convoy arrived and the terrorists received
ammunition for heavy artillery ... therefore they are able to
increase the intensity (of attacks)," he said.
Months of fighting in Ukraine's separatist regions have left many
without sufficient food and medical supplies. Russia has regularly
dispatched shipments of aid, a move which the pro-Western Kiev
government has denounced as a cynical operation to ship military
equipment to separatists.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets; Writing by
Alessandra Prentice, Editing by Ralph Boulton)
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