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Ukrainian war, next chapter

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Kiev forces are shelling civilians in the city of Donetsk in Ukraine’s southeast, Basurin told Sputnik News.
"There is a deliberate shelling of residential areas of the city of Donetsk. Just now, Grad [multiple rocket launcher] was used on the Kiev district," Basurin said.
DPR Minister of Emergencies Alexei Kostrubitsky told journalists that at least two people were killed and over a dozen were injured when Kiev forces attacked Donetsk from the Uragan self-propelled multiple rocket launcher system.
Meanwhile advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs Zoryan Shkiryak wrote on Facebook that DPR troops had attacked several towns in Ukraine’s southeast (Donbas), including Avdiivka, from the Grad multiple rocket launcher.
The situation near the industrial town of Avdiivka and neighboring Yasynuvata in southeastern Ukraine has been tense for several days, with both Kiev forces and Donbas militia having suffered casualties. The conflicting sides are accusing each other of being responsible for the escalation of fighting.

The US has condemned Russia's "aggressive actions" in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed rebels are fighting pro-Kiev government forces, reported Sky News.
UN ambassador Nikki Haley blamed the Kremlin for a surge in violence in the region, which has this week seen its highest casualty rate since mid-December.

At least 10 people have been killed since Monday and dozens more wounded, including civilians, on both sides.
In her first public comments to the Security Council since taking up the position, Ms Haley said: "I consider it unfortunate on the occasion of my first appearance here I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia.

"It shouldn't happen, or be that way. We do want to better our relations with Russia.
"However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions."
The US supplied drones, radar, first-aid kits, night vision and communications gear to Ukraine under the Obama administration, which focused on Russian sanctions and diplomacy to end the conflict.

President Trump has called for better US relations with Russia but Senator John McCain has called on him to give Ukrainian government forces the lethal aid needed to defend against attacks.
Mr McCain also wants sanctions against Moscow, imposed after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, increased.

Power and water has been cut off to thousands of civilians on both sides of the front line amid freezing winter temperatures.
Meanwhile, the US Treasury has announced exceptions to sanctions against Russia's intelligence agency the FSB, formerly known as the KGB.

But the White House insisted they had not been eased and said the move was part of a "regular course of action".
The sanctions were slapped on Moscow in December by Barack Obama after Russia allegedly tried to influence the US election by hacking Democratic party emails.

But now American companies will be allowed limited transactions with the Federal Security Service (FSB) that are needed to get permission to import IT products into Russia.
Experts said the exceptions made on Thursday were likely in progress before President Trump took office in January.

Meanwhile, Rex Tillerson has begun his first day as the new US secretary of state.
There have been fears that the former boss of oil giant ExxonMobil who now heads the state department is too close to Russia.

Addressing these concerns, Mr Trump said: "He is respected all over the world and I think he will go down as one of our great, great secretaries."
The President's temporary ban on refugees and citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries led to disquiet in the state department.
But Mr Tillerson tried to reassure his staff that he respects their expertise and patriotism.

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