Ukraine Returns Artillery to War Zone as Ministers Hold Call

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Bloomberg – – Daryna Krasnolutska – August 11, 2015)

Ukraine returned heavy artillery to the front line of its more-than-yearlong conflict with pro-Russian rebels after reporting shelling at levels not seen in weeks.

Weapons, pulled back as part of a February truce, were sent back to a village in the Donetsk region on Monday after separatists stormed it, the military said Tuesday from the eastern combat zone. The latest bout of unrest sparked a call between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and his French and German counterparts, who said they’d discuss the worsening tensions with Russia. The rebels denied attacking.

“Artillery was put back and it’s still there,” Andriy Lysenko, another military spokesman, said by phone. “Militants continue to attack our forces and we have to defend ourselves.”

The conflict, which the United Nations estimates has killed more than 6,700 people, has been simmering since the February peace plan. It’s threatened to boil over several times since then as Ukraine, Russia and the separatists bicker over implementation of the deal, brokered with help from France and Germany. The U.S. tightened sanctions against Russia over Ukraine last week. Russia denies stoking the unrest.

The renewed violence is another headache for Ukraine as it grapples with a recession and heads for crunch talks with foreign creditors to restructure $19 billion of borrowing. As the debt negotiations draw nearer, the nation’s dollar-denominated bond due 2017 gained 1.4 cent to 56.55 cents on the dollar Tuesday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and 13 were wounded in the past day, according to the daily lunchtime update from the military. Most of the casualties occurred near the cities of Donetsk and Mariupol, where attacks were repelled, with the situation stabilizing in the Luhansk region, it said.

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