Pro-Russian separatist fighters killed at least five Ukrainian soldiers and wounded seven others in clashes near Krymske (Luhansk oblast) on Thursday, August 23. The clashes are reportedly the most deadly to take place in eastern Ukraine in months and follow similar clashes that took place in recent days in defiance of an existing ceasefire agreement. Additional clashes are possible between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatist fighters in the coming weeks despite an expected renewal of the ceasefire agreement, slated to take effect on Wednesday, August 29.
Clashes between Ukrainian state forces and the separatists have been taking place on a regular basis despite a number of ceasefire agreements made since 2014. According to the UN, more than 10,300 people have died since the eastern Ukraine conflict erupted in April 2014, soon after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. The fighting has displaced more than 1.6 million people. The rebels remain in control of a large swath of territory in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, which are mainly Russian-speaking regions.
Individuals in Luhansk oblast are advised to monitor the situation and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. Due to the ongoing conflict, many Western governments advise against travel to Donetsk and Luhansk provinces - in particular, the cities of Mariupol, Donetsk, Makiyivka, Horlivka, Debaltseve, and Luhansk, as well as areas along the Russian border. The Ukrainian government has stated that foreigners entering Ukraine from Russia through rebel-controlled territory will not be allowed through any checkpoints into government-controlled territory.
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