Ukrainian soldier killed in separatist attack

ANGRY AGAINST THE PARTNERSHIP:
After Ukraine buys drones from Turkish company, Russia urges Turkey to “treat as seriously as possible” concerns about aid to Kiev

A Ukrainian soldier has been killed by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the government said on Friday, as the West accuses Moscow of a build-up of troops near Ukraine.

The Kiev army has been fighting fighters in two breakaway regions bordering Russia since 2014, after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and weapons across the border to support the separatists – allegations Moscow denies. The Kiev army said on Friday that separatists had targeted Ukrainian military positions with artillery and mortars.

Photo: Reuters

“As a result of hostilities, a soldier was fatally injured,” the army wrote on Facebook.

Ukraine said Thursday it was seeking additional military assistance from its Western allies after raising concerns about Russian troop movements along the border.

Videos posted online show Russia moving troops, tanks and missiles to the Ukrainian border, raising concerns that the conflict will escalate.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week expressed new concern over Russian troop movements and warned Moscow against any possible invasion.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that “the situation in Ukraine” had been the subject of a telephone call between its minister, Sergey Lavrov, and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Lavrov said Kiev was “exacerbating tensions in the southeast of the country, as encouraged by Western partners,” and warned of “a dangerous destabilization of the situation,” the ministry said in a statement.

He also called on Turkey “to treat as seriously as possible our concerns about Ukrainian-Turkish military and technical cooperation, which contributes to the further militarization of Ukraine”.

Kiev bought Bayraktar TB2 drones, the flagship model from drone maker Baykar that has been used in conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ukraine announced last month the construction on its territory of a factory for the production of Turkish armed drones.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the West is “worsening” the conflict in Ukraine by organizing exercises in the Black Sea and flying bombers near its borders.

The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people.

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