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7,000 civilians killed in east Ukraine: Poroshenko

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R) speaks to deputies of the Ukrainian parliament and guests during a special session in Kiev on May 8, 2015. (AFP photo)

Nearly 7,000 civilians have lost their lives in the year-long war in eastern Ukraine between government troops and pro-Russian forces, Ukraine's president says.

More than 1,000 people also remained unaccounted for and 1,657 Ukrainian troops died in combat, added Petro Poroshenko in an address before the parliament on Friday.

President Poroshenko's figures mark a sharp upward revision compared to the latest estimate provided by the United Nation, which had suggested a tally of about 6,100 dead people.

The peace deal remained the only solution in place for bringing back stability to eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko noted.

“This has enabled some degree of de-escalation in the conflict,” he added. “Every day in which nobody dies is like a feast day for me.”

In the latest development, however, Ukrainian military spokesperson Andriy Lysenko said on Friday that two servicemen had been killed and 26 others injured on Thursday.

Ukraine’s warring sides reached a truce deal, though a shaky one, dubbed Minsk II, at a summit attended by the leaders of Russia, France, and Germany in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on February 11 and 12. The agreement introduced measures such as a ceasefire, which commenced on February 15, the pullout of heavy weapons, and constitutional reform in Ukraine by the end of the year.

The peace deal has dampened much of the fighting in Ukraine's volatile provinces but failed to halt regular violence at key hotspots.

Donetsk and Luhansk, the two mainly Russian-speaking regions, have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April 2014 to crush pro-Russians there.


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