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Kyiv Says Three Ukrainian Soldiers Killed, Three Wounded In Fighting In East


A Ukrainian soldier fires a large-caliber machine gun while another prepares cartridges during combat against Russia-back separatists near Horlivka in the Donetsk region in late May.

Ukraine says three of its soldiers have been killed and at least three others wounded in clashes with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.​

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on June 5 that the casualties resulted from a battle with separatist fighters who opened fire with machine guns, anti-tank missiles, sniper rifles, and grenade launchers, violating a cease-fire 16 times in a 24-hour period.

Heavy weapons, including anti-tank missiles, are banned under the Minsk peace agreements.

A previous ministry statement was unclear, leading to reports that four soldiers had been killed.

The ministry also said that Ukrainian armed forces killed at least one separatist and wounded another one.

Since April 2014, some 13,000 people have been killed in fighting between Kyiv's forces and the Russia-backed separatists who control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Cease-fire deals announced as part of the Minsk accords -- September 2014 and February 2015 pacts aimed at resolving the conflict -- have contributed to a decrease in fighting but have failed to hold.

A new cease-fire agreement was reached on March 8, but both sides have accused each other of repeated violations since then.

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