Briefly about the most important today's events in our digest of events
that have happened in Ukraine today
Finland ratifies the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
On Friday 24 April, the President of the Republic accepted the association agreements concluded between the EU and its Member States and Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. The agreements deepen the countries' political and economic cooperation with the EU and its Member States.
The aim of the agreements is to gradually integrate the countries into the EU's internal market by establishing a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA) between the Union and the association countries. The agreements support stability and democracy in the countries and create a framework for further deepening of economic relations. The agreements also aim to promote sector specific cooperation in various branches of public administration and develop the reliability and effectiveness of the countries' public sectors.
NATO Secretary General: Russia massing forces on the eastern border of Ukraine
NATO's chief on Thursday reported a sizeable Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine that he said would enable pro-Moscow separatists to launch a new offensive with little warning.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia has substantially stepped up supplies to the rebels, as well as providing them with advanced training and equipment like drones, despite a cease-fire.
Making an accusation of their own, Russian officials said U.S. military instructors were training Ukrainian national guardsmen in urban fighting techniques in the same eastern regions where Ukrainian forces and separatists have been fighting for the past year.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department rejected the Russian claim of U.S. trainers in eastern Ukraine, saying all the activity was in western Ukraine near the border with Poland.
"We've been doing this for about 20 years now," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, calling the Russian statement "ridiculous."
Stoltenberg said the reported Russian moves undermine the cease-fire declared in eastern Ukraine and violate the Minsk agreements entered into by Moscow. He said more than 1,000 pieces of Russian military equipment have been moved over the past month, including tanks, artillery and air defence units.
Stoltenberg said this "gives reason for great concern" and would enable the separatists to go on the offensive again with little warning.
He said the U.S.-led defence alliance is not certain about the intentions of Moscow and the pro-Russian rebels, "but we are certain about the capabilities."
The claim from Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Gen.-Maj. Igor Konashenkov that U.S. trainers are active in disputed areas of eastern Ukraine came one day after the U.S. State Department accused Russia of deploying air-defence systems in eastern Ukraine and combined Russia-separatist forces of maintaining artillery and rocket launchers in violation of the shaky cease-fire deal.
Konashenkov denied those claims, and said U.S. military instructors are working in the vicinity of the cities of Mariupol, Artemivsk and Volnovakha.
U.S. paratroopers last week arrived in western Ukraine to train National Guard units.
Rebels fall back near Pisky and use new RF made shells near Shyrokine
Rebels made attempts to near forward positions of Ukrainian troops during attacks on Pisky with mortars.
In general, gunmen repeatedly attacked army positions near the settlements of Shyrokine, Pisky, Avdiyivka, Opytne, and Kurdyumovka. Positions of Ukrainian troops also came under fire near Kirove and Lenine.
Militants fired machine-guns, grenade machine guns, grenade launchers, 122-mm heavy artillery assets and 120-mm mortars.
Rebels and Russian mercenaries were reported firing Kornet AT assault weapons (or AT-14 Spriggan according to the NATO classification), which are made in the RF only, near Shyrokine and in the area between Pisky and Avdiyivka.
Militants reinforced near Schastya, and move matériel to Donbas
Militants reinforce their units deployed near the town of Schastya in the Lugansk region, which is controlled by the Ukrainian government.
In particular, a rebel mobile combat group of 40 to 50 people was observed moving in 4 trucks and 3 ICVs from the settlement of Metalist, Dmytro Tymchuk, the founder of the IRG, says.
In addition, a mechanized infantry team (12 ACVs, including 7 APC-80s, and 80As, as well as an ACV-2 and a multi-purpose light-armoured towing vehicle equipped with mortars - approximately 150 to 160 people in total) was observed repositioning in the southern direction from the settlement of Komsomolske.
A number of "mobile" tanks emerged near Luganske and Myronivka to the east of Ukrainian army positions. Tanks reportedly arrived from Bryanka.
Apart from the so-called "humanitarian convoy", 32 supply trucks carrying material and technical resources were additionally sent to rebels from the RF.
A column of 8 vehicles was spotted moving to the north of Alchevsk, which included military trucks and a ground mobile forces communications station.
Railway stations located in the south of the Lugansk region are progressively transformed into cargo terminals to serve Russian and rebel forces in Donbas with the handling capacity of 6 to 8 freight cars or platforms per day.
1 service member wounded in the ATO area in the past 24 hours
No losses were reported in the ATO area in the past 24 hours, a spokesman for the Presidential Administration on ATO issues, Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, reported at a briefing.
According to him, rebels carried out 9 attacks with 122-mm mortars and 3 attacks with 122-mm canons in the past 24 hours. Rebels actively used snipers and committed tanks.
Also, 5 UAVs were spotted over the ATO area yesterday evening and today, Motuzyanyk reports.