Ukraine clashes kill 12 civilians, nix Putin talks

Ukraine clashes kill 12  civilians, nix Putin talks
Escalating clashes between pro-Kremlin separatists and Ukrainian forces Sunday killed 12 civilians and forced the new Western-backed leader to cancel a pivotal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the World Cup in Brazil. An explosive security crisis on the eastern edge of the European Union that has claimed more than 550 lives and enflamed East-West relations has since Friday threatened to spiral into an all-out civil war. Militias that the West and Kiev allege are being armed by the Kremlin used a Grad multiple-rocket system late Friday to mow down 19 Ukrainian soldiers and wound nearly 100 near the Russian border.

Further attacks killed 18 more troops and 20 civilians – 12 of them in what Kiev said were missile and other overnight rebel strikes staged across the eastern rustbelt – in violence that appeared to shatter any hope of a truce. Kiev-backed authorities said six people were killed and eight wounded in a suburb of the million-strong rebel stronghold of Donetsk. Municipal workers in neighbouring Lugansk said six people had also died and seven were injured in various overnight incidents in that separatist bastion of 425,000.

And an AFP correspondent at the morgue in Maryinka saw the corpses of eight people killed in clashes waged outside that village just west of Donetsk yesterday afternoon.
The civilian toll is one of the highest recorded over a two-day span in a three-month conflict that has threatened the very survival of the strategic ex-Soviet state sandwiched between the EU and Russia.
And the military losses have profoundly dampened rising hopes in Kiev that its recent string of battlefield successes had finally convinced the rebels to sue for peace.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to kill ‘hundreds’ of gunmen for every lost soldier and ordered a military blockade of Lugansk and Donetsk - both capitals of their own ‘People's Republics’ that want to join Russia.

European leaders responded by joining forces with Putin in a bid to convince Poroshenko to put the breaks on violence first sparked by the February ouster of a Kremlin-backed leader and fanned by Russia's subsequent seizure of Crimea. The immediate hopes of a truce rested on a meeting between Putin and Poroshenko– only the second since the latter's 25 May  election – that seemed in the cards on the sidelines of the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro. Putin was due in Rio as part of his Latin American swing.

Russia warns of ‘irreversible’ consequences after shelling hits 2 houses and kills 1

Russia's foreign ministry said that an incident on Sunday in which a crossborder shell fired from Ukraine hit two houses in Russia, reportedly killing a Russian man and injuring two women, may have ‘irreversible’ consequences.
A ministry statement said Ukraine had been handed a note of protest which described the incident as ‘an aggressive act by the Ukrainian side against sovereign Russian territory and the citizens of the Russian Federation’.
A Russian man was killed and two women were injured when shells fired from Ukrainian territory hit two houses in Russia's Rostov region, Russian news agencies said on Sunday, an attack denied by Ukrainian authorities.
Alexander Titov, a representative of the Rostov regional government, told ITAR TASS news agency that a shell struck two private houses at about 9.20am Moscow time (0520 GMT) in Donetsk, a town of the same name as the city in eastern Ukraine. A Russian man was killed, he said.
‘At around 9.20am Moscow time a shell flew into the town of Donetsk from the Ukrainian side. Two private houses were hit. A Russian citizen was killed,’ Titov told ITAR TASS. On Saturday, Ukrainian war planes bombarded separatists along a broad front in the country's east, in exchanges marking a sharp escalation in the three-month conflict.
RIA Novosti quoted a medical source as saying that two women were injured in the attack inside Russian territory on Sunday. Ukraine's military spokesman Andriy Lysenko denied that government forces were behind the shelling. ‘Be in no doubt, Ukrainian forces are not shooting into Russian territory,’ he was quoted. Agencies


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