162 soldiers killed during ‘ceasefire’
A total of 162 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the Donbas conflict zone in eastern Ukraine since the beginning of the ceasefire on September 5, the Acting Speaker of the General Staff of Ukraine Vladyslav Selezniov said at a briefing on Thursday, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"As of today, 300 soldiers are being treated in military hospitals, 12 of whom have serious injuries,” Selezniov said.
“One hundred and eighty-five Ukrainian servicemen have been imprisoned by the Russian-backed insurgents, and 298 people are still missing."
Ukraine declared a ceasefire on September 5 after peace talks in Minsk concluded in a four-point agreement being signed. One of the points was that both sides should stop fighting and withdraw their heavy weaponry, but this point was never observed. Ukraine accused the militants of continuing to attack its forces, and said Ukrainian troops had been ordered only to return fire if attacked.
The militants claimed Ukrainian forces were breaking the ceasefire.
Ukraine declared another ceasefire on December 9 in the run-up to expected peace talks in Minsk. However, the talks have been delayed, and militants have continued to attack Ukrainian positions, although with markedly less frequency and intensity.
Ukrainian troops in the latest “ceasefire” have been ordered not even to return fire if attacked by the militants. According to Ukrainian defense officials, three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the “Days of Silence” - as the latest ceasefire initiative is called by Kyiv - was announced.
"There have been 119 attacks on Ukrainian army positions by Russian-backed militants since the beginning of the ceasefire [declared on December 9]," Selezniov said.