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Iran Press TV

3 Ukrainian soldiers killed in fresh clashes in east

Iran Press TV

Tue Jul 5, 2016 12:59PM

Renewed clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine have left three soldiers dead.

Officials in Kiev said Tuesday that the three were killed as government forces suffered losses across various parts of the frontline separating areas under the control of pro-Russians in the east from the rest of the country.

Ukraine's military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said fierce clashes occurred in Donetsk, controlled by pro-Russians, while fighting raged in the southeastern government-held port city of Mariupol.

"We observe an escalation in these areas," Lysenko said, adding that pro-Russians shelled some areas for several hours.

The pro-Russia forces rejected the statement as an accusation, saying Ukrainian troops shelled residential buildings in Donetsk. A news agency run by the pro-Russians said two civilians were injured in attacks by Ukrainian troops.

On September 20, 2014, the government in Kiev and the pro-Russians signed a ceasefire agreement in Minsk, Belarus, in a bid to halt the clashes in Ukraine's eastern regions. The deal required all sides to pull heavy weaponry back from the front lines of the conflict.

On February 12 the next year, Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agreed to another ceasefire deal in the same city under the name Minsk II. In addition to the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, that agreement called for a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russians and constitutional reform to give eastern Ukraine more autonomy.

Sporadic clashes have continued, however, with the two sides blaming each other for renewed hostilities. Kiev and its Western allies also accuse Russia of having a hand in the conflict. Moscow denies the allegation.

More than 9,500 people have been killed since April 2014, when Kiev launched its formal military action against pro-Russians following a referendum in March that year in Crimea, where the ethnic Russian-speaking people voted for rejoining the Russian Federation.

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