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Five Ukrainian Soldiers, Two Separatists Killed As Fighting Flares Up In Eastern Ukraine

A boy holds the remains of a mortar shell which hit a residential building in a village outside the separatist-held city of Donetsk in the Donbas region, where fighting has reportedly intensified in recent days.

Ukrainian officials said on May 29 that five Ukrainian soldiers were killed and another four wounded during the previous 24 hours in fresh clashes with Russia-backed separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine said on May 29 that two of their fighters were killed as a result of intensified fighting.

Ukraine's military said it was the second-highest casualty toll for government troops on any single day during 2016.

"Unfortunately, over the past 24 hours, five Ukrainian soldiers have died and four more have been wounded," military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters on May 29.

On May 28, the Ukrainian military said that fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatists had intensified.

Russia-backed fighters have accused the army of carrying out dozens of attacks in recent days as both sides charge each other with not observing a cease-fire.

Amid the increased violence, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called for greater foreign assistance and has appointed former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen as his adviser.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, TASS, and Interfax