Ukraine redeploys troops to counter insurgent offensive

Kiev, Nov 13 (IANS) Ukraine is mobilising troops and weapons in the country's east in preparation for a possible offensive by independence-seeking insurgents, Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said here Wednesday.

"We redeploy our armed forces to be prepared to respond to unforeseen actions of armed groups, which operate on the territories that are beyond our control," Xinhua quoted Poltorak as saying during a cabinet meeting.

He, however, did not give further details of the troop movements.

The Ukrainian army is enhancing its capabilities and military readiness to prepare for long-term implications of the crisis, he said, noting that the Ukrainian defence ministry signed contracts last week to purchase arms and military equipment worth about $63.5 million.

Intense fighting has been raging in Ukraine's restive east since April 15, when the government troops launched offensives against militants to regain control over seized cities and towns.

To pave the way for a solution to the crisis, Ukraine's government and the insurgent leadership inked a ceasefire deal Sep 5 in the Belarusian capital of Minsk that helped de-escalate tension. However, the ceasefire was violated almost daily.

The bloody conflict has by now claimed more than 4,000 lives, including hundreds of civilians that were caught in the crossfire between the Ukrainian military and the insurgents.

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Updated Date: Nov 13, 2014 02:00:23 IST