Day 692: Two Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, Reciprocal Ban On Russian Goods Goes Into Effect

January 10, 2016
People queue at a checkpoint in Zaytsevo, Donetsk region on October 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Aleksey Filippov)

Two Ukrainian servicemen are killed as a reciprocal embargo on Russian imports goes into effect.

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.

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For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: How We Know Russia Shot Down MH17.

Ukrainian Ban On Russian Imports Reciprocity For Russian Ban

Yesterday we reported that a Ukrainian National Guard captain was reportedly killed in Zaytsevo, near Gorlovka, north of Donetsk, while trying to save civilians.

AFP reports that, according to reports earlier today, two Ukrainian soldiers and two Russian-backed separatists were killed over the previous 24 hours:

“Over the last day, two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed”, military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters, despite a wobbly truce between the pro-Russian rebels and government forces still largely holding.

Meanwhile, separatist authorities said one of their military commanders was killed, possibly shot by a sniper.

“Colonel Yevgeny Kononov was killed at the front. I can’t say yet whether it was a sniper bullet, but our front is everywhere now”, military spokesman Eduard Basurin told AFP.

Rebel news website Russkaya Vesna, or Russian Spring, said Kononov had been active in key battles in the conflict that has killed more than 9,000 people since April 2014, fighting at flashpoints such as Ilovaisk, Debaltseve and Donetsk airport.

A second rebel fighter was killed by a Ukrainian sniper while on combat duty in Zaitseve on Saturday evening, the separatist DAN news agency said.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian ban on most Russian food imports has gone into effect. According to Ukraine Today, “embargo applies to a wide range of goods including meat, milk, tea, beer and cigarettes.” The ban is a response to a similar Russian ban on Ukrainian food imports which went into effect at the end of last month.

This is just the latest sign that a trade war between these two countries is heating up. Despite the undeclared war that has been raging for nearly two years both countries, previously major trading partners, have been relying on each other for trade and cross-border exchanges of utilities. 2016 is likely to see economic tensions increase between Russia and Ukraine as the question of trade — and the vital supply routes to Russian-occupied Crimea — come into dispute.

James Miller