According to the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation, separatist militants have carried out several attacks in the eastern Donbass region on Tuesday, February 18, killing at least one Ukrainian soldier and injuring four others. Ukrainian commands also accused separatists of overusing heavy shelling, banned under the Minsk agreements, to breach Ukrainian lines. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced he will hold a security meeting as a result of the attacks while also accusing Russia of "wreck(ing) the peace process in Donbass." This comes just after Zelenskiy said during the Munich Security Conference that he hoped to end the conflict by the end of his term in 2024.
Further clashes between Ukrainian military forces and separatist militants are possible throughout the region over the coming days.
The hybrid conflict in Donbass between government forces and Russian-backed separatist militias remains ongoing as of February 2020, and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are likely to remain effective Russian protectorates for the foreseeable future. Clashes between Ukrainian state forces and separatists have been taking place on a regular basis despite several ceasefire agreements made since 2014. According to the UN, more than 13,000 people have died since the eastern Ukraine conflict erupted in April 2014, soon after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.
Individuals in the Donbass region are advised to monitor developments to the situation and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. Due to the ongoing conflict, many Western governments advise against travel to the far east of Ukraine, including the cities of Donetsk, Horlivka, Makiyivka, Mariupol, and Luhansk.
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