A Ukrainian soldier was killed by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the government said on Friday, as the West accuses Moscow of a troop buildup near Ukraine.
Kiev’s army has been battling fighters in two breakaway regions bordering Russia since 2014, after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.
Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms across the border to support the separatists — claims that Moscow denies. Kiev’s military on Friday said that the separatists had targeted Ukrainian military positions with artillery and mortars.
“As a result of hostilities, one serviceman was fatally wounded,” the military wrote on Facebook.
Ukraine on Thursday said it was seeking more military aid from its Western allies after voicing concerns over Russian troop movements along the border.
Videos posted online show Russia moving troops, tanks and missiles toward the Ukrainian border, raising concerns over an escalation in the conflict.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week expressed fresh concern about Russian troop movements and warned Moscow against any possible invasion.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday said that “the situation in Ukraine” was the subject of a telephone call between its minister, Sergei Lavrov, and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Lavrov said that Kiev was “escalating tensions in the southeast of the country, as encouraged by Western partners,” and warned of a “dangerous destabilization of the situation,” the ministry said in a statement.
He also called on Turkey “to deal as seriously as possible with our concerns regarding Ukrainian-Turkish military and technical cooperation, which contributes to the further militarization of Ukraine.”
Kiev has purchased Bayraktar TB2 drones, the flagship model of drone-maker Baykar that has been used in conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Ukraine last month announced the construction on its territory of a factory to produce Turkish armed drones.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that the West is “escalating” the Ukraine conflict by holding drills in the Black Sea and flying bombers near its borders.
The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people.
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