Ukraine reports 100 ceasefire violations in one day

Ukraine's defence operations in its eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ATO) have reported another spike in violence, complaining of 100 ceasefire violations across several key areas in the last day.

The ceasefire between Ukraine, Russia and the pro-Russian rebels in the east, in place since February, has seen long spells of relative quiet. The accord dictated a stop to fighting within the belt of land separating Ukrainian and rebel forces in the east of the country. However, violations of the ceasefire have persisted since May, with both sides blaming one another for incidents where disallowed heavy weapons have been used.

The National Security Council of Ukraine (RNBO) has already issued a statement today complaining that over the last few days pro-Russian fighters have initiated "one of the most powerful attacks" since the signing of the ceasefire agreement. Eight Ukrainian soldiers have been killed over the period, while 16 have been wounded.

During his daily news briefing, ATO spokesman Andriy Lysenko told Interfax that the situation in the east "continues to worsen" as separatists "rapidly increase" the intensity of their fire.

According to the ATO press office's Facebook account, rebel violations hit a high over the last 24 hours, with 100 incidents of westward fire across both Donetsk and Luhansk.

In Donetsk the separatist forces used 152mm and 122mm artillery 19 times, fired 120mm mortar canons 33 times, tank fire 13 times and on two occasions used multiple rocket launcher systems.

The height of the violations reportedly occurred in the evening between 6pm and midnight and the Donetsk areas targeted by the attacks were territories close to the rebel-held city of Donetsk. Notably Ukrainian checkpoints at Avdiivka and Peski, north of city, were among the targets, as were a number of other villages. In Luhansk region, four settlements were close to the fire including Krimske which sustained a two-day separatist attack last week.

According to the ATO forces Mariupol, Donetsk region's key port city which has been the subject of several rebel advance and which separatist leader Alexander Zaharchenko has vowed to take, also came under attack.

However it did not bear the brunt of the attacks as only small arms were used, in the direction of nearby villages Talakivka and Mikolayivka.

Reports from the ATO as of 6am this morning have already claimed to continue to have tracked violations near Avdiivka, Opytnoe and Starognativka using howitzers and mortars.

Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that according to Kiev, Nato and EU intelligence a "record number" of forces had been deployed on Russia's border with Ukraine, although he did not specify an exact figure.