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European Union calls for immediate stop to fighting in Eastern Ukraine

European Union calls for immediate stop to fighting in Eastern Ukraineā€

Sanctions against the Russian Federation must remain until Moscow returns Crimea to Kyiv, UK and US envoys to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft and Nikki Haley, have said.

"I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia", Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council at her first public meeting since being confirmed last week as President Donald Trump's U.N. envoy.

Speaking at the Security Council in New York, Nikki Haley urged Russian Federation "and the separatists it supports" to stop the escalation of violence in the area.

Avdiivka (Ukraine) (AFP) - Clashes between Ukrainian forces and Moscow-backed rebels left two more dead in a flashpoint town Friday and four others elsewhere in bloodshed that has prompted the United States to condemn Russia's "aggressive" stance.

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About 200 people have been evacuated from Avdiivka, almost half of them children, Ukraine's State Emergency Service said Friday. Separately, a Ukrainian An-26 transport aircraft came under fire from Russian-manned drilling rigs in the Black Sea near Crimea on February 1.

But Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin accused Kiev of starting the fighting to attract global attention and draw support from the new United States administration.

The heaviest shelling has hit the government-controlled town of Avdiivka, the neighbouring separatist-held town of Yasynuvata, and the ruined worldwide airport outside the city of Donetsk, which is the main militant stronghold.

Haley called for an immediate end to fighting and "full and immediate implementation" of the Minsk peace agreements.

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Tusk said that "the fighting must stop immediately". "Eastern Ukraine of course is not the only part of the country suffering because of Russia's aggressive actions", she said. The cease-fire must be honored.

Churkin blamed Ukrainian security forces for starting the bloodshed.

The rebels said that shelling by the Ukrainian army also killed two civilians in the separatists' de facto capital of Donetsk.

Associated Press reporters on both sides of the conflict, which has been raging since 2014, heard salvos of Grad multiple grenade launchers during the night. The Ukrainian government, the U.S. and the European Union refused to recognize the legality of the vote and introduced sanctions against Russian Federation. If this was the goal of the fighting, it appears to have worked, based on Haley's comments.

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