Briefly about the most important today's events in our digest of events
that have happened in Ukraine today
162 Ukrainian service men have died since the ceasefire was accepted
162 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have died as a result of hostilities since the truce agreement was inked on September 5, Vladislav Seleznev, a spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces said at a briefing on Thursday, as reported by "INTERFAX-Ukraine”.
According to him, rebels have shelled army positions over a hundred times since the new ceasefire was declared on 9 December.
In addition, according to him, 300 Ukrainian soldiers have been wounded, since September 5, 12 of which badly.
185 service members are held in rebels' captivity, and 298 others missing.
Tymchuk: “Motorola's” gunmen and Russian military move to the front line in Donetsk
Rebels have regrouped in the northern districts of Donetsk; “Motorola's” gunmen and a number of divisions of Russian forces have moved to the front line, the head of the Information Resistance Group, MP Dmytro Tymchuk, posted on his Facebook Wall.
"Rebel regrouping took place in north districts of Donetsk in the past 24 hours. Freshly staffed armed gangs under the command of “Motorola” and several divisions of Russian forces have been moved forward to the front line," he writes.
Troop movements were also detected in Lugansk region, Tymchuk said.
ATO Headquarters: Militants carry out three armed provocations
Rebels violated the truce agreement three times overnight, including attacks on the Donetsk airport, the ATO press centre reported on the morning of December 18.
"The night in the ATO area passed quietly. The ATO Headquarters registered three armed provocations from rebel positions within the period from 18:00 till 7 a.m.," a statement reads.
The headquarters also reassured that the Ukrainian troops had observes the truce; therefore, they did not respond to provocations and did not open fire".
Putin does not consider his Donbas gunmen to be mercenaries
Vladimir Putin said that Russians fighting in Donbas were not mercenaries, for they allegedly received no money for what they did, according to his statements made at a press conference in Moscow.
"In Russia, same as in any other presidential republic, the president is responsible for everything. As for the armed forces, the chief military commander is responsible for their fate, and it is the same person in our country," he said.
Denmark ratifies the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
Denmark has ratified the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard posted in Twitter on Thursday.
"I'm very happy that Denmark has just ratified the EU Association Agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. This is an important step towards closer cooperation," he wrote.
Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU was earlier ratified by Hungary, Sweden, Estonia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania. It is expected that the EU will ratify the agreement by May 2015.
162 Ukrainian servicemen killed in Donbas since Sept 5
One hundred and sixty-two military servicemen have been killed in eastern Ukraine since September 5, the day a truce agreement was reached at a Trilateral Contact Group meeting in Minsk, and the militants have shelled Ukrainian army positions over 100 times since December 9 when the truce regime was put into effect.
"Terrorist fighters have delivered 4,302 strikes on Ukrainian army positions since the moment of the declaration of the ceasefire regime, 0800 p.m. on September 5. The Ukrainian armed forces began to fulfill the bilateral ceasefire plan at 1000 a.m. on December 9. Since then, Ukrainian military positions in the ATO zone have been shelled 119 times. A total of 162 Ukrainian army servicemen have been killed during the regime of silence," a spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff, Vladyslav Selezniov, said at a press conference on Thursday.
He noted in his comments to Interfax that "162 servicemen had been killed since September 5."