Fighting rages in eastern Ukraine as government forces struggle to hold back pro-Russian offensive

By Robert Hackwill Ukraine’s ministry of defence says 15 soldiers have been killed in the last 24 hours as government forces attempt to hold onto a key railway junction in the teeth of heavy attacks from pro-Russian separatists. Kyiv, NATO and several Western governments insist the rebels appear to be increasingly and overtly supported by Russian special forces and heavy weaponry engaging on Ukrainian soil. Moscow claims any man pictured wearing Russian insignia is a “volunteer”, although no explanation has been offered for the presence of armoured vehicles with Russian markings, or equipment not issued to the Ukrainian army and thus unable to have been captured. Artillery and missile launchers continue to be deployed in residential areas, inevitably drawing fire from the Ukrainians and deepening the misery of the people trapped in Donetsk, no longer receiving supplies from Kyiv of any kind.

With the ceasefire dead and buried, all hopes now turn to the talks in Minsk for some respite.

By Robert Hackwill

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