Ukrainian soldier killed, four wounded
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said one of its soldiers was killed and four were wounded in clashes that occurred early on February 18 near the town of Zolote in the Luhansk region. The ministry accused the Russian-backed separatists of violating ceasefire agreements by shelling Ukrainian positions on the line of contact. Meanwhile, the leader of the militants in the Luhansk region, Yakov Osadchy, said four separatist fighters were killed and four were wounded in the clashes, which he said started when a group of Ukrainian soldiers tried to enter separatist-controlled territory but entered a minefield. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv reacted to the events, calling on Moscow to fulfill its obligations outlined in earlier peace agreements. The 2015 Minsk agreement is a peace plan that was brokered by France and Germany in the Belarussian capital and set a series of ceasefires in eastern Ukraine that have generally failed to hold. Known as the Normandy format, the latest four-way talks between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany were held in Paris in December.