Putin Discusses ‘Deterioration’ In East Ukraine

(Reuters) -

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with top security chiefs on Thursday over a “deterioration of the situation” in eastern Ukraine after pro-Russian rebels there accused Kiev of launching a new offensive in violation of a ceasefire.

Sporadic violence has flared since the Sept. 5 truce in a conflict that has cost over 4,000 lives; but the ceasefire has looked particularly fragile this week with separatists and the central government accusing each other of violations.

Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said the Ukrainian army had launched “all-out war” on rebel positions, Russian news agency RIA said.

Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov denied this, saying the army remained in agreed positions.

A Reuters witness in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk said there was no sign the conflict was escalating.