American officials have expressed “deep concern” about new fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government troops.
More than 10 people have been killed since Monday in and near the town of Avdiika. Many others are wounded.
On Tuesday, the State Department called for an immediate ceasefire. It said the fighting has left 17,000 civilians without water, heat and electricity.
It is extremely cold in the area right now with temperatures as low as -18 degrees Celsius.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine. He urged Russia to use its influence with rebels in eastern Ukraine to stop the fighting.
The European Union has called the fighting a “blatant violation” of the agreement known as the Minsk Protocols. That agreement, reached in Belarus’s capital in 2014, calls for a ceasefire and for the withdrawal of heavy weapons from battle areas.
The conflict in Ukraine began in 2014. That year, popular protests forced Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, out of office. Russia then claimed lawful control of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula. After tensions increased, fighting started between pro-Russia, separatist rebels and Ukrainian government forces.
Western countries and the United Nations sharply criticized Russia’s move to take Crimea. The United States and European Union ordered international economic restrictions against Russia that have hurt its economy for more than two years.
More than half of the almost 10,000 people killed in the conflict have been civilians.
America’s new president Donald Trump has called for warmer relations between the U.S. and Russia.
I’m Mario Ritter.
Richard Green reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
blatant –adj. not hidden, very clear