Three Ukrainian soldiers killed in troubled east

Three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 16 others injured in a fresh wave of clashes with pro-Russia forces in the troubled eastern parts of Ukraine, the military says.
Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military, made the announcement on Sunday, saying eight of the injured soldiers suffered concussion during artillery shelling over the weekend near the village of Luganske, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Donetsk.
He said the pro-Russians used grenades and heavy machine guns to attack Ukrainian positions in the region, which led to the destruction of a residential building.
Pro-Russia forces, for their part, accused the Ukrainian troops of shelling the town of Gorlivka in Donetsk region, injuring four civilians, two women and two men.
Frequent clashes in recent weeks have claimed several lives from both sides despite a fragile ceasefire agreement aimed at halting the 26-month conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The conflict erupted after people in Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for rejoining the Russian Federation in March 2014. The West brands the development as Moscow’s annexation of the territory. The United States and its allies in Europe also accuse Moscow of having a major hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Moscow denies.

Pro-Russia forces withdraw their tanks from positions near the town of Novoazovsk in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, October 21, 2015. (Photo by AFP)
Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April 2014 to crush pro-Moscow protests there.
The crisis has left nearly 9,500 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. 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.
Earlier in May, France and Germany held a round of talks with Ukraine and Russia in the German capital of Berlin as part of mediation efforts to hammer out a lasting peace deal, but no consensus was reached over the issue.



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