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Observers raise alarm about fighting in eastern Ukraine

December 19, 2017

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 file photo a local resident walking in a street is seen through a hole in an apartment building damaged by shelling in Avdiivka, Ukraine. Fighting in eastern Ukraine sharply escalated this week. The Ukrainian command said Saturday that several soldiers were killed in the past day. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — International observers are raising the alarm about intensified fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Ertugrul Apakan, chief monitor of the special monitoring mission for eastern Ukraine at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters on Tuesday that the number of cease-fire violations increased by 35 percent in the past week compared a week earlier.

Local media reported intense shelling and damage to properties on both lines of the conflict this week.

Fighting between Russia-backed separatists and government troops in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 since 2014. Peace accords brokered by Russia, France and Germany in 2015 helped to decrease the intensity of the fighting but did not stop it altogether. Political settlement stipulated by the accords has not been implemented either.

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