Fighting in east Ukraine has escalated, with reports that at least seven government soldiers and 15 pro-Russian separatists have been killed over the past two days.
Ukrainian defence officials accused what they said were ‘Russian occupying forces’ of firing towards the eastern frontline town of Avdiyivka, while separatist leaders blamed government forces for the spike in violence.
Houses in Makiyivka to the south of Avdiyivka were damaged, one resident described the moment the fighting erupted.
“I was in the garden when I heard incoming shelling. When the third shell hit that house I ran to the cellar. That’s what saved me,” he said.
-18C#Avdiivka: a town of 30,000 has no water, electricity & heating, suffers shelling.— Maxim Eristavi (@MaximEristavi) January 30, 2017
Welcome to the forgotten war of Europe
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cut short a trip to Germany to oversee the emergency situation in Avdiyivka.
The surge in violence comes after Donald Trump had his first phone call with the Russian President, in which they discussed the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
The latest casualties add to the estimated 10,000 already killed in the three-year battle over territory near the Ukraine-Russia border.