While the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France were negotiating ways to end Russia’s war against Ukraine in Paris on Dec. 9, this war claimed the lives of another three Ukrainian soldiers.

The soldiers were killed by a landmine, the Ukrainian military reported. All three belonged to the 14th Mechanized Brigade based in Volodymyr-Volynskyi in western Ukraine. The youngest of the three, private Serhiy Syrota, was 22 years old. Junior sergeant Andriy Voitovych and junior sergeant Viktor Prusky were 29 and 49, respectively. 

“We have no words to express our pain,” the brigade wrote on Facebook account on Dec. 10. “There is only unlimited sorrow and the burning desire for revenge.” 

Portraits of the junior sergeant Andriy Voitovych (L), junior sergeant Viktor Prusky and private Serhiy Syrota (R). They were soldiers the 14th Mechanized Brigade killed in action in Donbas on Dec. 9, 2019. (Facebook)

The military reported that Russian-led troops violated the ceasefire seven times on Dec. 9, firing on Ukrainian positions with grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms. 


Two more Ukrainian soldiers were fatally wounded on Dec. 1, also from landmines, according to a military report. 

Since the beginning of the year, 93 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action, not counting the landmine casualties of Dec. 3 and Dec. 9, according to Ukraine’s military statistics, published by the Livyy Bereh news website. The same source reported that 121 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action in 2018.

After the Minsk-2 peace agreement was signed in Minsk in February 2015, military and civilian losses fell significantly but never ceased. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights estimated that about 4,100 soldiers were killed since the war began in April 2014. In total, more than 13,000 people lost their lives in the war, which is now in its sixth year.

Following the Dec. 9 talks in Paris, president Volodymyr Zelensky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron announced that they agreed to a total ceasefire by the end of the year. 

People in Ukraine reacted to the news with cautious optimism. Both sides had announced ceasefires many times since the beginning of the war, but none of them lasted. The previous ceasefire had started on Nov. 21. 

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