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Kyiv, Moscow Trade Barbs Over Escalation of Conflict in E. Ukraine

  • VOA News

FILE - A resident is seen in a window of a damaged apartment building shelled on Saturday in Mariupol, Ukraine, Jan. 28, 2015.

FILE - A resident is seen in a window of a damaged apartment building shelled on Saturday in Mariupol, Ukraine, Jan. 28, 2015.

Russia and Ukraine again blamed each other Wednesday for the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters in Kyiv, military spokesman Andriy Lysenko described the situation as tense, adding that pro-Russian rebels are attacking the army on all fronts.

The spokesman also said that the hostilities have intensified in Debaltseve, a strategic town which links separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Moscow rejected the Ukrainian position.

"The latest military actions provoked by Kyiv will lead to the inevitable further escalation of the conflict” and “undermine efforts taken by the international community to end the bloodshed," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko revealed in an interview Wednesday with Polish television channel TVN-24 that he had sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin stressing the need for compliance with the September cease-fire agreement reached in Minsk, Belarus.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday in Kyiv following the signing of an agreement by the U.S. to provide Ukraine with $2 billion in loan guarantees.

Meanwhile, the European Union is considering expanding sanctions against Russia after a bloody upsurge in fighting around the port city of Mariupol. Russia said such a move would be harmful.

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