(Adds detail from military spokesman)
KIEV, July 1 Ukrainian government forces
launched air strikes and artillery assaults on pro-Russian
separatists in eastern regions on Tuesday, a military spokesman
said, after President Petro Poroshenko announced he would not
renew a ceasefire.
Poroshenko said in an early morning announcement that
government forces would renew offensive operations against
rebels and "free our lands", hours after a ceasefire to allow
for peace talks with the pro-Russian separatists had expired.
"After the President's speech, the ATO (Anti-Terrorist
Operation) went into action. We opened artillery fire, carried
out air strikes at the strategic points of the terrorists and
places where they are concentrated," military spokesman Oleksiy
Dmytrashkovsky was reported as saying by Interfax news agency.
Dmytrashkovsky said rebels had fired on an SU-25 attack
aircraft, damaging it, but the plane had manage to land safely
at its air base. He denied a rebel report that a military
helicopter had been brought down.
One Ukrainian serviceman had been killed and 17 wounded in
the past 24 hours in rebel attacks on Ukrainian posts, he said.
The defence ministry confirmed that Ukrainian forces had
launched attacks on the rebels "from the air and land".
"The terrorists' plan to significantly escalate armed
confrontation has been disrupted and the threat of losses to the
civilian population and service personnel has been liquidated,"
the ministry said on its website.
Poroshenko, who accuses Russia of fanning violence in
eastern Ukraine, dismissed Moscow's offers to defuse the crisis,
and accused the rebels of failing to keep to the truce or follow
a peace plan he had outlined.
(Reporting by Nalatya Zinets; Writing by Richard Balmforth)