WASHINGTON (QHA) -

The US administration has expressed concern about the growing tension in the east of Ukraine, in particular the pro-Russian militants’ attack against Ukrainian Armed Forces positions in Svetlodarsk area, the US State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing on December 20.

“Over just the last two days, six Ukrainian service members have been killed and 33 wounded in a Russian separatist attempt to seize additional Ukrainian territory – the highest two-day casualty figure that we’ve seen since June of 2015. This is a clear violation of Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements. And once again, we call on Russia to exercise its considerable influence over the separatists to put a stop to the violence and to allow OSCE monitors full and unfettered access. We strongly support the Trilateral Contact Group’s efforts to negotiate a ceasefire recommitment that will allow Ukrainians on both sides of the line of contact, of course, to live more safe, more secure, and especially at this time of the holidays, we think a propitious time to try to seek that kind of a ceasefire.” Kirby said.

State Department spokesman called the separatists’ attack a clear violation of Russia's obligations on the Minsk agreements and called on Moscow to influence the militants to stop the offensive and to ensure unhindered access of OSCE observers in the conflict zone.

Earlier, QHA reported that about six in the morning on Sunday, December 18, the pro-Russian militants launched an artillery attack using mortars and cannon artillery. The Ukrainian Armed Forces respected the cessation of hostilities.

The significant pro-Russian forces attempted a turning movement in the area of  Luhanskaya village to hammer out the advanced units of the ATO forces from their positions and change the contact line of the parties.

Ukrainian Armed Forces took the fight, during which seized the initiative, pushed the enemy back and made a counter-attack. The enemy was forced to retreat, leaving the military property and equipment made in Russia.

According to intelligence reports, militants losses amounted to more than 25 people killed and 30 wounded.

Photo: Internet

QHA