UKRAINE’S anti-fascist resistance vowed today to push Kiev’s troops out of the Donetsk region entirely.
Self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic prime minister Alexander Zakharchenko said: “Attempts to talk about a ceasefire will no longer be undertaken by our side.”
Continued heavy fighting around Donetsk airport and Ukrainian army shelling of the city have already made a mockery of the tentative ceasefire accord agreed in Minsk late last year.
The UN human rights agency said today that the death toll from Ukraine’s civil war — which began when the regime in Kiev sent troops to crush local militias hostile to last February’s fascist-backed coup — has now risen above 5,000.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko blamed the rebels for the continued fighting and pledged to “smash them in the teeth” on Thursday.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin said Kiev was responsible.
“The Kiev authorities have given an official order to start large-scale military operations practically throughout the whole line of contact. The result is tens of killed and wounded,” he said.
Russian opposition to the Western bid to draw Ukraine into alliance with the EU and Nato has been punished with sanctions which, combined with the falling price of oil, have had a severe impact on the Russian economy.
But Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said attempting to put pressure on the country was counterproductive.
“When a Russian feels any foreign pressure, he will never give up his leader,” he said.
nUkraine’s communists complained of another act of vandalism today, pointing to the demolition of a monument to Lenin in Bug on the night of January 22.