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Death Toll Rises Ahead Of Ukraine Peace Talks

Ukrainian forces ride tanks on the road from Artemivsk to Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, on February 11, 2015. Ukrainian forces battled pro-Russian rebels for territory on Wednesday on one of the bloodiest days in 10 months of fighting ahead of a pivotal peace summit on the conflict. (Anatoli Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian forces ride tanks on the road from Artemivsk to Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, on February 11, 2015. Ukrainian forces battled pro-Russian rebels for territory on Wednesday on one of the bloodiest days in 10 months of fighting ahead of a pivotal peace summit on the conflict. (Anatoli Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images)

Fighting rages on in eastern Ukraine, even as leaders prepare for peace talks. Officials in Kiev said 19 Ukrainian soldiers were killed today in battles with pro-Russian separatists in the hotly contested region.

The peace talks in the Belarusian capital Minsk are supposed to focus on securing a ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the creation of a demilitarized zone. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the fighting since April 2013, and earlier attempts to stop the violence have failed.

The BBC’s David Stern joins Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd from Kiev with details on the peace talks.

Note: This BBC interview can be heard in the Here & Now podcast or with the WBUR app.

Guest

  • David Stern, correspondent for the BBC in Ukraine. He tweets @loydstern.

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