While everything else has been going on it is important to remember that events elsewhere in the world have not paused. Ukraine has been under sustained attacked from Russian backed/Russia’s Little Green Men for several days.
The deadliest flare-up in fighting in eastern Ukraine in 1 1/2 months stretched into a third day as the European Union labeled the violence a “blatant” breach of the stalled 2015 peace accord aimed at resolving the almost three-year-old conflict.
The military said Tuesday that Russian-backed insurgents pounded the town of Avdiivka, 20 kilometers (13 miles) from the conflict zone’s biggest city, separatist-held Donetsk, using rockets and artillery. Rebels blamed the shelling on the army. President Petro Poroshenko broke off a visit Monday to Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced concern at the security situation.
Ceasefire monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, tallied 2,260 “ceasefire violations” on Sunday.
And early Monday morning, combined Russian-separatist forces launched a predawn artillery attack and follow-on ground assault on the Ukrainian-held front-line town of Avdiivka.
Ukrainian officials claimed the attacks were an attempt by combined Russian forces to derail the ceasefire by effectively baiting Ukraine into retaliatory actions, which could be used as an excuse for further escalations, or for propaganda.
By Monday afternoon, Ukrainian forces announced they had repelled the attack on Avdiivka, but combat was ongoing.
“The enemy continues to fire at our positions with heavy artillery and mortars,” Ukrainian military spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters in Kiev Monday.
The BBC reports that an evacuation is being planned:
Ukrainian officials are preparing for a possible evacuation of the eastern frontline town of Avdiivka amid renewed fighting with pro-Russian rebels.
If evacuation takes place, officials say up to 8,000 people could be removed each day from the government-held town, which has no water or electricity.
Shelling and the deaths of several more people were reported by both sides on Tuesday.
Each blames the other for the upsurge in violence.
It erupted despite an attempt to renew a ceasefire last month.
Ukrainian forces say the outbreak began when rebels launched an attack on Avdiivka, which borders land controlled by the separatists.
Seven soldiers and a number of rebels have been killed in recent days, and there have been civilian casualties on both sides but precise numbers are unclear.
The US’s official response is:
Cease-Fire Violations in Eastern Ukraine
The United States is deeply concerned with the recent spike in violence in eastern Ukraine around Avdiivka-Yasynuvata. Since January 28, the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission has reported a dramatic increase in fighting, including with heavy artillery and other weapons proscribed by the Minsk agreements. The fighting has caused dozens of Ukrainian military casualties and 10 civilian casualties. It has also left 17,000 civilians, including 2,500 children, without water, heat, or electricity. To avert a larger humanitarian crisis, we call for an immediate, sustained ceasefire and full and unfettered access for OSCE monitors. We also reaffirm U.S. support for full implementation of the Minsk agreements.