UKRAINE REPORTS INTENSE BATTLES NEAR MARIUPOL

Radio Free Europe on August 12, 2015, reported on Ukrainian information that intense battles with pro-Russian separatists near the government-held coastal city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov are ongoing. Excerpts below:

A military spokesman in Kyiv said on August 12 that clashes north of the strategic city of Mariupol had killed one soldier and injured three.

A resident in a village located halfway between Donetsk and Mariupol told AFP exchanges of heavy mortar and rocket fire began on August 10 and had not stopped since.

The latest battles are focused on a highway that connects Mariupol with the separatists’ de facto capital, Donetsk.

The majority of the road is now under the control of government forces.

On August 10, the Ukrainian military reported the heaviest shelling by pro-Russian separatists since the Minsk truce was signed in February.

Mariupol sits along a key route linking parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by the rebels and Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March 2014.

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