Kiev: 13 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, at Least 20 Wounded in Past 24 Hours

OSCE blames pro-Russian separatists for failed Ukraine talks in Minsk.

AFP

Thirteen Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in fighting against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours, a Kiev military spokesman said on Sunday.

A further 20 soldiers were wounded in the clashes, spokesman Volodymyr Polyovy said in a televised briefing.

Meanwhile, the pro-Russian separatist envoys present at talks in Minsk on the Ukraine conflict effectively blocked the negotiations and sought to revise a previous ceasefire deal, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said Sunday.

"They were not even prepared to discuss implementation of a ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons," said the Serbian Foreign Ministry, which currently chairs the OSCE.

The Vienna-based OSCE is part of the so-called contact group, which also includes Ukraine and Russia and is involved in the Ukraine talks with the separatists. The talks' long-delayed latest round, held Saturday in the Belarusian capital, were fruitless.

The separatist envoys from the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk were not in a position to discuss a proposal put forward by the trilateral group to implement a ceasefire agreed upon in September but not observed, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said.

Instead, the separatist representatives called for a revision of that ceasefire, the OSCE chairman said.