February 14 saw the latest casualties in Ukraine’s war against Russian-backed separatists. Three Ukrainian troops were killed in an explosion in Eastern Ukraine, bringing the total number of casualties to five over the past week. The three servicemen were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated while they were taking positions near the town of Novoluhanske in the Donetsk region.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is currently on an official visit in the United Arab Emirates, so he sent the country’s defense minister and its chief of staff to Eastern Ukraine to investigate this incident. These losses came a few days after two other Ukrainian troops had been killed in the Donetsk region, yet another violation of the latest ceasefire agreement.
With over 13,200 deaths since April 2014, the Ukrainian government is now pressing charges against a top Russian military official. Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Andrey Kartapolov, is accused of planning and coordinating the actions of Russian troops and proxy forces in seizing the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve and other nearby settlements. According to the SBU, Kartapolov acted in a conspiracy with other members of Russian military command.
Kartapolov also accused of being involved in the planning and control of Russian military activity during the invasion of Ukraine, including the treacherous killing of Ukrainian soldiers during their withdrawal from Ilovaisk via the so-called “green-corridor” under the “guarantees” from the Russian leadership. Russian forces continue to occupy various settlements in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk under Kartapolov’s command. This case is under supervision of the Office of the Prosecutor General; if found guilty, the suspect faces life in prison.