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Ukraine Says Five Soldiers Killed As Talks Resume

Ukraine says five of its soldiers were killed in clashes in the east despite the resumption of talks between the government and pro-Russian rebels over an endangered truce deal.

Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on May 6 that over the past 24 hours four servicemen died when their vehicle hit a landmine close to Avdiyivka, while a fifth was killed in an insurgent ambush.

Lysenko said that rebels continued to pound government positions around Mariupol, the largest remaining Ukrainian-controlled city in the conflict zone, and areas around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

The latest casualties come as officials from Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held closed-door talks in Minsk for the first time since the two sides agreed a shaky peace deal in February.

Both Kyiv and the insurgents accuse each other of continuing to violate the cease-fire deal.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a statement ahead of the talks, "The first key point towards fulfilling the Minsk agreement is ensuring a comprehensive cease-fire."

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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