Soldiers killed in east Ukraine clashes

At least eight Ukrainian security personnel

have been killed and 18 wounded in overnight

clashes with pro-Russian separatists in eastern

Ukraine, three days before a presidential

election in the former Soviet Republic.

Security sources said on Thursday that the

main clash took place about 20km south of the

industrial hub of Donetsk, which is now in the

hands of separatists who say they will disrupt

the election.

Ukrainian forces also fought separatists in the

neighbouring Luhansk region but there was no

word about any casualties there, the Reuters

news agency reported.

The defence ministry confirmed that several

people died in a firefight near Donetsk, but

gave no precise death toll. It added that the

clash occurred when gunmen opened fire on

an army checkpoint near the town of Volnovakha.

Separately, Ukrainian border guards said they

rebuffed an attempt by dozens of separatists,

armed with grenade launchers and rifles, to

enter the Luhansk region overnight from

Russia. Several guards were hurt in the fighting.

Separatists on Thursday also seized four

Ukrainian coal mines in the country's east,

according to the Ministry of Energy.

"The terrorists, threatening [workers] with

guns, are demanding explosives" in the eastern

Lugansk region near the Russian border, the

ministry said in a statement, adding that the

mines belong to the Lysychanskugol company.

Frequent clashes

Ukrainian security forces and the pro-Moscow

separatists have clashed repeatedly in recent

weeks in eastern Ukraine, where the

breakdown of security has rattled the pro-

Western interim government in Kiev.

Kiev has acknowledged that Sunday's election

cannot be held in parts of the Donetsk and

Luhansk regions and has accused Moscow of

deliberately seeking to undermine Ukrainian

democracy, a charge echoed by the United

States and European Union .

Russia denies the legitimacy of the current

Kiev government, which took over after mass

street protests toppled Moscow-backed

president Viktor Yanukovich in February. He

fled to Russia and in March Russia seized

Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, asserts

that Moscow has the right to intervene on

behalf of Russian speakers outside Russia's

borders and has expressed sympathy for

people in eastern Ukraine who he says face

discrimination and harassment by the Kiev government.


Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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