Thursday, Jun 4, 2015Thursday, Jun 4, 2015

Ukraine troops clash with rebels despite ceasefire order

Published on Jun 21, 2014 11:59 PM

ANDRIYIVKA, Ukraine (AFP) - Ukraine's unilateral ceasefire hung in the balance on Saturday as clashes spread across the separatist east and Moscow rankled Kiev by putting its central forces on full combat alert.

The resurgence of violence in the 11-week pro-Russian uprising threatening to splinter the former Soviet state came as Washington slapped sanctions on top separatist leaders and warned the Kremlin against sending forces into Ukraine.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared ready to continue sabre-rattling in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War by ordering units from the Volga to western Siberia to conduct snap military drills.

"There is no ceasefire," a woman named Lila Ivanovna said just 4km south-west of the battled-scarred rebel stronghold city of Slavyansk. "They were shooting last night and I heard mortar and machine gun fire at four this morning. Nothing has changed."

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!