KIEV – The Ukrainian military command on Sunday accused pro-Russian militants of bombarding its positions with heavy armament, including missile launchers, which were ostensibly prohibited under the Minsk peace accord last February.
In their bombardment of Ukrainian positions, the rebels reportedly used Grad missile launchers, along with heavy artillery and mortars of more than 100 mm caliber, weaponry that should have been withdrawn from the zone in accord with the separation of forces agreement.
The attacks came at several towns in the Donetsk region, the main insurgent bastion including Avdiivka and Shirokino, both of which are near the strategically important Ukrainian-government-controlled city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.
In addition, Ukrainian government positions were fired upon using Grad missile launchers in the neighboring Luhansk region, attacks that wounded three soldiers, one of them seriously, and two civilians.
Tensions along the line of separation of forces have been on the rise in recent days with accusations by each side of truce violations by the other, especially in the area around the Donetsk airport and the town of Shirokino.
Several Ukrainian soldiers died last week in combat with insurgent militias, who accuse Kiev of preparing an offensive to retake Donetsk.
Last Monday, the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany agreed to the withdrawal from the combat zone of tanks, armored vehicles, mortars and “heavy weapons of at least 100 mm caliber.”