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Heavy fighting reported in Eastern Ukraine

Seversk, Ukraine, June 20 (): Heavy fighting has been reported between the Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. As per reports, the fighting seemed to be centred on the Krasny Liman villages and Yampil in Donetsk region.

A military source said about 4,000 protesters had been engaged while the infantry of Ukraine were sustained by nearly 20 tanks as well as heavy armour and artillery.

Igor Strelkov, top rebel commander reported that there were “heavy losses” in arms and equipment among the protesters. There was no announcement on losses from government side.

Reports say fighting broke out in the early hours of June 19 after protesters denied to put down their weapons as a part of President Petro Poroshenko’s suggested peace plan.

The plan includes a proposal of an independent ceasefire by the government forces and forgiveness for the protesters – but that too only if they put down their arms.

Poroshenko said on his website that he outlined the plan to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin on June 19 by phone, highlighting the necessity of freeing the captives and “an operational rule of control” recognised on the joint border. He also said he had expressed hope that Putin would keep up the plan and declare ceasefire.

These two leaders talked hours after Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary-General of NATO said that at least a few thousand more Russian troops were now on long eastern border of Ukraine.

Kyiv has blamed Russia of rousing up the disorder and of permitting Russia’s volunteer fighters to cross into Ukraine to back up the protesters. This is rejected by Moscow, which has been asking Poroshenko to finish “punitive action” against the rebels.

In Kyiv, Poroshenko received an improvement when parliament overpoweringly permitted his nominations for three important posts including that of foreign minister.