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Ukraine says soldier killed in shelling in separatist east

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Kyiv: The fears that Russia may invade Ukraine despite all its claims are intensifying with reports of increasing attacks by Russia-backed rebels. On Saturday, Ukrainian army said that one of its soldier was killed in clashes with the rebels in the separatist east.

The military said that separatists had opened fire on more than 20 settlements.

The soldier reportedly received a “fatal shrapnel wound”.

The military said on Saturday that it had recorded 12 ceasefire violations by the separatists in eastern Ukraine in the morning itself.

On Saturday, pro-Russia separatist leader Denis Pushilin announced “general mobilization” in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

They have started evacuating residents in the areas under their control to Russia.

Hours ago, US President Joe Biden said he was “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to invade Ukraine.

“We’ve seen reports of a major uptick of violations of the ceasefire by Russian-backed fighters attempting to provoke Ukraine — and we continue to see more disinformation pushed out to the public. All of this is consistent with the playbook that the Russians have used before,” he said.

“We’re calling out Russia’s plans. Not because we want a conflict, but because we are doing everything in our power to remove any reason Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine,” he said, adding, “If Russia pursues its plans, it will be responsible for a catastrophic and needless war of choice.”

He reiterated that the US and its allies and partners would support Ukraine and that Russia would be held accountable for its actions.

Meanwhile, Putin is scheduled to speak to French PM Emanuel Macron on Sunday amid the rising tensions, Kremlin has said.

 

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