Intense fighting flares in eastern Ukraine

The Wall Street Journal reports: Pro-Russian separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine mounted four simultaneous attacks against government forces Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, officials in Kiev said. The violence comes just days before presidential elections that separatists have vowed to block.

The attacks resulted in some of the highest number of casualties since the conflict began, officials said. The overall death toll in the latest fighting wasn’t immediately available but Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said eight servicemen were killed in one of the battles.

“Today a major operation was prepared on all fronts and it was repulsed,” Andriy Parubiy, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told a briefing in Kiev, according to the Interfax news agency. He said the separatists are expected to increase their attacks in the days ahead of Sunday’s presidential elections.

In a separate briefing, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Kiev is calling for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to address what he said were efforts by Russia to “escalate the conflict” and sabotage the elections. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman dismissed the allegations as “groundless.” [Continue reading…]

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