Two killed, five wounded in Ukraine clashes: Kiev

Two killed, five wounded in Ukraine clashes: Kiev
Ukrainian sailors stand guard on a Priluki missile boat in southern Ukrainian city Odessa, on May 3, 2015. Fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian army has killed over 6,100 people in the past year.

KIEV - Two soldiers were killed and another five were wounded in the past 24 hours in Ukraine's separatist-held east, Kiev said Monday, as both sides traded blame over the increasing number of ceasefire violations.

Two servicemen died and three more were wounded after their armoured vehicle hit a mine in the Lugansk region, said military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk.

Two more soldiers were wounded in clashes near the village of Shyrokyne near the strategic port of Mariupol, the last major city in the conflict zone controlled by Kiev, he said.

Officials in charge of the anti-terrorist operation accused pro-Moscow militants of violating a fragile ceasefire 95 times on Sunday.

"This is nearly the same level as before the conclusion of Minsk agreements," they said in a statement, adding that rebels were provoking Ukranian forces by using heavy artillery.

Rebels for their part pointed the finger at Ukrainian troops, saying Kiev violated the truce 70 times over the past 24 hours by using tanks, grenade and mortar launchers.

In February, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel helped broker a peace deal for Ukraine in a last-ditch effort to stop months of fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev forces.

The conflict has killed more than 6,000 people and displaced a million, according to the United Nations.

OSCE condemned the violation of the cease-fire on Sunday and "expressed in particular serious concern over the use of proscribed heavy weapons as well as the increased fighting in and around Donetsk and Shyrokyne."

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