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Child killed, several wounded in east Ukraine: rebels

ukraine war conflictA child was killed and three people wounded in fighting Thursday evening in eastern Ukraine, the country’s pro-Russian rebels said a day after 26 people were reported killed in a surge of violence four months into a ceasefire.

“As a result of shelling of Telmanove one child was killed and three adults were wounded,” senior rebel commander Eduard Basurin told AFP, referring to a village south of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

Major clashes between government forces and the rebels erupted near Donetsk on Wednesday, in violation of a February truce deal.

The fighting resuming Thursday evening, albeit on a smaller scale.

The Ukrainian army reported numerous instances of shelling by the pro-Moscow separatists Thursday evening.

“From 6 pm (1500 GMT) on June 4 until midnight (2100 GMT) more than 40 instances of shelling were recorded,” the military said, accusing the rebels of using mortar launchers and artillery banned by the European-brokered peace agreement.

The army reported shelling at several villages around Donetsk, including the settlement of Maryinka, focal point of Wednesday’s clashes.

The rebels also fired on a village in the rebel-held region of Lugansk and another village near the government-controlled city of Mariupol, the military said.

Since midnight, the shelling had abated, the statement added.

On Thursday, the two warring parties reported that at least 26 people had been killed in fighting over the previous 24 hours.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned of a “colossal threat” of a serious escalation, claiming that more than 9,000 Russian soldiers were now in Ukraine to support the insurgency.

The Kremlin has accused Kiev of seeking to torpedo the fragile truce ahead of an EU summit in June which will discuss whether to extend sanctions against Russia that are set to expire in July.

The United States, the EU and Germany all expressed alarm over the renewed violence, with Washington warning Russia it would face new punishment if the crisis escalated.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the uptick in violence.

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