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Ukraine accuses pro-Russia rebels of attacking village near border

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A member of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service keeps watch at the Senkivka checkpoint near the border with Belarus and Russia in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine February 16, 2022.
Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters

Ukraine has denied claims by Russian state-controlled media that it launched shells in eastern Ukraine, and accused Moscow-backed rebels of attacking a village in the region.

Russian-controlled media agency RIA claimed on Thursday that Ukrainian forces had shelled territory held by pro-Russian separatists. The two countries currently have a cease fire agreement in place.

In comments to Reuters, the Ukrainian Join Forces Operation denied that this had taken place.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russian-backed forces had attacked a village in eastern Ukraine, damaging civilian infrastructure, in a tweet Thursday.

“Ukrainian Stanytsia Luhanska village was shelled with heavy weapons from the occupied territory of the Donbas. Civilian infrastructure damaged,” he tweeted.

“We call on all partners to swiftly condemn this severe violation of Minsk agreements by Russia amid an already tense security situation.”

Neither report could be independently verified by CNBC. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recorded multiple shelling incidents in eastern Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday, Reuters reported.

The front between the two sides has long been the scene of low-level fighting and the OSCE has regularly reported violations of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine during the eight-year conflict.

The U.S. warned on Wednesday that Moscow may use false claims about the conflict in eastern Ukraine as a pretext for an invasion of the country.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen Russian officials and Russian media plant numerous stories in the press, any one of which could be elevated to serve as a pretext for an invasion,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Wednesday.

Around 13,000 people in the eastern Ukraine have died in the ongoing conflict between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

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