SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Tensions are reportedly rising in eastern Ukraine following Kiev’s decision to send army reinforcements to the restive region.
On Wednesday, artillery explosions were heard near the Donetsk airport, where Ukrainian soldiers are surrounded by pro-Russia forces.
Black smoke was also seen rising above the government-held village of Peski located close to the airport.
The developments came a day after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered the deployment of more military units to the cities of Kharkiv, Berdyansk, Mariupol and the north of Lugansk region in an attempt to foil probable attacks by pro-Russia activists.
Tensions are running high since November 2, when leadership and local parliamentary elections were held in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, despite condemnation from Kiev and the West that such a move would undermine peace efforts in Ukraine.
This comes as Kiev has decided to suspend a “special status” law that would have allowed the two flashpoint provinces to run their own affairs and offered forces impunity from prosecution. The move has drawn condemnation from leaders of pro-Moscow forces.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking parts in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia activists and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence pro-Russians in mid-April.
Violence intensified in May after Donetsk and Lugansk regions held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine. Latest figures show that more than 3,600 people have been killed in Ukraine’s eastern provinces over the past six months.