OSCE: Ukraine fighting has surged in past week

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has surged in the past week, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Friday, amid mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The number of blasts in eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region has nearly doubled in recent weeks from 420 in the first week of August to 780 from August 8-14, the OSCE, which independently monitors the conflict, told dpa.

On Sunday alone the OSCE recorded more than 500 blasts in Ukraine's neighbouring Donetsk region, the organization said in a post on Twitter.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday that there was a record-high number of shellings the previous night in eastern Ukraine.

"If this escalation continues, I will order a mobilization and introduce martial law," Poroshenko told reporters, according to a statement on his website.

"The probability of an escalation of the conflict remains very significant. We do not rule out a full-scale Russian invasion," Poroshenko said.

Hostilities between Russia and Ukraine escalated last week as Russia alleged that special forces from its post-Soviet neighbour attempted to blow up critical infrastructure in Crimea, which Russia occupied and annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukraine responded by putting its forces on combat alert on the border with Crimea and in Ukraine's two eastern-most regions. Poroshenko called Russia's allegation "preposterous."

Last update: Fri, 19/08/2016 - 18:53

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