As tensions rise over Putin’s troops building up at the border, and possibly invasion, a mortar attack by Russian separatists kills a Ukrainian soldier

  • With mortar and grenade launchers, separatists attacked the positions of Ukraine. 
  • Ukraine has now reached 65 deaths in conflict since the start.
  • Russia fears an invasion and has gathered thousands of troops to defend itself.

As tensions at the border escalate, a Ukrainian soldier was killed fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists. 

Since 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Kiev has faced a pro-Moscow rebellion in two regions that border Russia.

Russia has gathered troops in the vicinity of Ukraine’s borders. For weeks, it has been accused by the West of planning to invade. It has warned Moscow that it will face severe sanctions if it launches an attack.

A Ukrainian soldier has been killed in fighting with pro-Russian separatists as tensions on the border continue to escalate. Pictured: a Russian rocket launcher fires during military drills in Orenburg

As tensions continue to rise on the Ukrainian border, a Ukrainian soldier was killed fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists. Pictured: Russian rocket launcher firing during Orenburg military drills

The Ukrainian army said separatists had targeted its positions with grenade launchers and mortars. Pictured: Russian military drills

According to the Ukrainian army, separatists have attacked its positions using grenade launchers as well mortars. Image: Russian military drills

Ukrainian soldiers claimed that separatists attacked their positions with mortars and rocket launchers.

It stated on Facebook that one serviceman had died and that another soldier sustained injuries.

Kiev and its allies allege Russia of aiding the rebels militarily. Moscow disputes these accusations.

This latest death means that Ukraine has now lost 65 people in its simmering conflict since January 1, according to an AFP tally based only on official numbers. That compares with 50 deaths for the whole of 2020.

Kiev and its allies accuse Russia of supporting the rebels militarily - claims which Moscow denies

Moscow and Kiev’s allies claim that Russia is supporting rebels militarily. Moscow refutes these claims

Russia has gathered around 100,000 soldiers on the Russian side of its border.

US President Joe Biden warned Vladimir Putin that he would not tolerate any sanctions if Russia attacked Ukraine.

On Thursday, European Union leaders urged Moscow not to increase its military presence and to return to the talks led by France or Germany.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict in east Ukraine so far.