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Kremlin accuses Kiev of undermining peace deal

Russia accused Ukrainian-backed forces of undermining a peace deal by launching an attack over eastern Ukraine.

FILE: A pro-Russian activist guards a road block outside the regional Security Service building in Lugansk, eastern Ukraine. Picture: AFP.

MOSCOW/LONDON/MILAN - The Kremlin on Tuesday accused Ukrainian-backed forces of undermining a peace deal over eastern Ukraine by launching an attack there on pro-Russian rebels the previous day.

On a conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia was extremely concerned by the incident, which he said undermined efforts to implement the Minsk peace accords.

“We regret that as a result of this attack… people were killed on both sides,” said Peskov.

“Such aggressive actions supported by the armed forces of Ukraine undermine the aims and the task of realising the Minsk accords.”

Peskov said the attack had been repelled by rebels and accused the Ukrainian authorities of organising the offensive as a ruse to try to distract attention away from domestic and other problems.

Ukraine's military said on Monday that the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in what it called an offensive by pro-Russian separatists had risen to seven, in the deadliest outbreak of fighting in the east of the country since mid-December.