Five killed in clashes near Ukraine’s Donetsk region

Five killed in clashes near Ukraine’s Donetsk region

Fri May 23, 2014 9:28AM GMT

Five people have been reportedly killed in fighting between pro-Russian protesters and Ukrainian forces near Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk.

Witnesses say they saw five dead bodies near the village of Karlivka, northwest of Donetsk, early Friday; four of them had apparently been protesters and the fifth possibly a member of the Ukrainian army.

On Thursday, a total of 18 Ukrainian soldiers were reportedly killed during clashes with protesters in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The number of casualties was by far the heaviest loss for the Ukrainian military since Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered military operations in southeastern Ukraine in mid-April in a bid to root out pro-Russia protests.

The recent clashes took place ahead of Ukraine’s upcoming presidential election due on Sunday, May 25.

Earlier this week, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Van Simonovic raised concerns over the deteriorating situation in southeast Ukraine, saying Kiev’s operations and the growing number of armed groups committing illegal acts had significantly aggravated the human rights situation there.

On May 12, Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence following local referendums in which the regions’ residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Kiev. The referendums followed a similar vote in Crimea in March that led to the unification of the region with the Russian Federation.

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