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Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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The Ukrainian military claimed this morning that Russian-backed fighters had conducted 77 attacks over the past day, making this last week the worst since the end of February in what has become a grim cycle of escalations.
Russian-backed fighters used 152 mm artillery, mortars, grenade launchers and small arms in 16 attacks on Ukrainian positions in this area, with further attacks near the Butovka mine and Marinka.
In the Gorlovka area, there were attacks near Mayorsk and Zaytsevo, where one Ukrainian soldier was killed in a mortar barrage yesterday morning.
In the south of the Donetsk region, there were attacks near Novotroitskoye, on the Donetsk-Mariupol highway, as well as Shirokino, Vodyanoye, Talakovka and Gnutovo, near Mariupol.
The attacks continued today, with the military reporting 20 attacks as of 14:00 Kiev time.
At around 9 am, the military reports a mortar attack on Ukrainian troops in the Avdeyevka industrial estate, on the front line near the highway junction with separatist-held Yasinovataya.
Fighting has also been seen today near Peski and Opytnoye, north of Donetsk; Novgorodskoye and Luganskoye, near Gorlovka; Novotroitskoye; and Novozvanovka, in the Lugansk region.
In addition to the fatality in Zaytsevo, Colonel Andriy Lysenko, a military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, announced the wounding of eight Ukrainian servicemen yesterday.
According to Lysenko, three were wounded in Zaytsevo while the other five casualties occurred in Avdeyevka.
In addition, Lysenko claimed, a residential building had been damaged by shelling in Marinka, southwest of Donetsk.
The Ukrainian military claims that the attacks are aimed at provoking a heavier response and the return of Ukrainian heavy weaponry to the front line, so as to enable the Russians to declare violation of the Minsk agreements by Kiev.
Meanwhile, the Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk claim that Ukrainian forces violated the ceasefire agreement 63 times over 24 hours, firing 547 shells, including 82 and 120 mm mortars, as well as 122 and 152 mm artillery.
According to the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, Ukrainian forces shelled separatist-held areas north of Gorlovka and Donetsk, as well as the town of Dokuchaevsk on the highway to Mariupol.
— Pierre Vaux