At least seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and nine others wounded in the last 24 hours as the military and eastern rebels traded shelling along the frontier between their territories. This is the deadliest single day of violence in Ukraine in a year, according to officials.
The two sides have been in a state of ceasefire since February of 2015, and while allegations of violations on both sides are quite common, it is rare for them to lead to any serious casualties. It is unclear what sparked this latest violence.
Ukrainian officials, as is always the case, blamed the Russian Federation, accusing them of “occupying” Donetsk and demanding an immediate surrender. Ukraine has repeatedly talked up war with Russia since their 2014 regime change, which ousted a pro-Russian government in favor of a Western-backed, right-wing government.
Since the installation of an anti-Russian government in Kiev, the eastern regions, overwhelmingly ethnic Russians, have sought increased autonomy. The ceasefire is supposed to lead to a peace deal, though Ukrainian officials have so far blocked efforts to hold regional elections in Donetsk.