OSCE: Ukraine fighting has surged in past week

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has surged in the past week, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Friday, amid mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The number of blasts in eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region has nearly doubled in recent weeks from 420 in the first week of August to 780 from August 8-14, the OSCE, which independently monitors the conflict, told dpa.

On Sunday alone the OSCE recorded more than 500 blasts in Ukraine's neighbouring Donetsk region, the organization said in a post on Twitter.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday that there was a record-high number of shellings the previous night in eastern Ukraine.

"If this escalation continues, I will order a mobilization and introduce martial law," Poroshenko told reporters, according to a statement on his website.

"The probability of an escalation of the conflict remains very significant. We do not rule out a full-scale Russian invasion," Poroshenko said.

Hostilities between Russia and Ukraine escalated last week as Russia alleged that special forces from its post-Soviet neighbour attempted to blow up critical infrastructure in Crimea, which Russia occupied and annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukraine responded by putting its forces on combat alert on the border with Crimea and in Ukraine's two eastern-most regions. Poroshenko called Russia's allegation "preposterous."

Last update: Fri, 19/08/2016 - 18:53

More from Europe

Renzi quits as prime minister, leaving Italy in political quagmire

Italy was plunged into fresh political turmoil Wednesday, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after complying...

Brexit debate strains nerves as May remains coy with plan's details

British lawmakers debated the government's Brexit strategy on Wednesday after Prime Minister Theresa May agreed,...

NATO strongly supports Ukraine's integrity, says Croatian FM

NATO strongly supports Ukraine's territorial integrity and the European Union's sanctions against Russia will remain...

Three detained in France for connection to police killings

Three men have been detained in France for their suspected links to Larossi Abballa, the extremist who killed two...

Political veteran Doris Leuthard elected Swiss president for 2017

Centre-right politician Doris Leuthard will serve as Swiss president next year, the parliament decided Wednesday in...