Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:47 PM
People stand beside the corpse of a civilian killed in the shelling of a residential area in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, January 30, 2015. (AFP photo)
Clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army in the east of the country have killed 15 Ukrainian soldiers and injured 30 others over the past 24 hours.
"In the last day, 15 soldiers died and 30 more were wounded. That is the figure for the whole frontline," Ukraine's Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said on Saturday.
Reports also said civilian casualties have risen as heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine rages on.
The recent casualties came a day after the peace talks between Ukraine and pro-Russia forces in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk were cancelled following Kiev’s refusal to attend the talks.
Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) urged both sides to stop fighting and provide the affected civilians with the "unrestricted supply of basic goods and humanitarian assistance."
Back in September 2014, Minsk hosted the representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk who finally inked a ceasefire deal to end deadly clashes in eastern Ukraine. However, the truce has been violated almost daily by both the Ukrainian military and pro-Russia forces.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev’s military operation started in April 2014, in a bid to crush the protests.
The fighting has left more than 5,100 people killed and over 1.5 million displaced, the United Nations says.