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Iran Press TV

New clashes kill three army soldiers in east Ukraine: Kiev

Iran Press TV

Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:56PM

The Ukrainian military has announced the death of three of its soldiers in a fresh wave of clashes with pro-Russia forces in the country's troubled east.

"As a result of hostilities, three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and another six wounded over the past 24 hours," Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a spokesman for Kiev's military, said on Sunday.

Accusing the pro-Russia forces of increasing attacks against the Ukrainian military and using heavy weapons, Motuzyanyk said the situation along the front-line "had escalated again."

Conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine after people in the country's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for unification with Russia in March 2014. The West brands the development as Moscow's annexation of the territory. The US and its allies in Europe also accuse Moscow of having a major hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Moscow denies.

Ukraine's eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations later in April 2014 to crush pro-Moscow protests there.

The crisis has left around 9,200 people dead and over 21,000 others injured, according to the United Nations.

In September 2014, the government in Kiev and the pro-Russians signed a ceasefire agreement in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk in a bid to halt the clashes in Ukraine's eastern regions.

They agreed on 12 points, including pulling back heavy weapons, releasing prisoners, setting up a buffer zone on the Russia-Ukraine border, and allowing access to international observers.

The warring sides also inked another truce deal, dubbed Minsk II, in February 2015 under the supervision of Russia, Germany and France.

Since then, however, both parties have on numerous occasions accused each other of breaking the ceasefire.

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