Ukraine redeploys troops for fresh insurgent offensive
Updated: 2014-11-13 09:11
Armed people and military trucks are seen near a checkpoint outside a building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, November 12, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
KIEV - Ukraine is mobilizing troops and weapons in the country's east in preparation for a possible offensive by independence-seeking insurgents, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said here Wednesday.
"We redeploy our armed forces to be prepared to respond to unforeseen actions of armed groups, which operate on the territories that are beyond our control," Poltorak said during a cabinet meeting.
He, however, did not give further details of the troop movements.
The Ukrainian army is enhancing its capabilities and military readiness to prepare for long-term implications of the crisis, he said, noting that the Ukrainian Defense Ministry signed contracts last week to purchase arms and military equipment worth about $63.5 million.
Intense fighting has been raging in Ukraine's restive east since April 15, when the government troops launched offensives against militants to regain control over seized cities and towns.
To pave the way for a solution to the crisis, Ukraine's government and the insurgent leadership inked a ceasefire deal on Sept 5 in the Belarusian capital of Minsk that helped de-escalate tension. However, the ceasefire was violated almost daily.
Over the past 24 hours, one Ukrainian soldier has been killed and five others were wounded, the National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.
The bloody conflict has by now claimed more than 4,000 lives, including hundreds of civilians that were caught in the crossfire between the Ukrainian military and the insurgents.