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Ukraine Says Russia-Backed Separatists Violate Cease-Fire With Heavy Artillery

According to the Defense Ministry, several Ukrainian positions were targeted by mortar and artillery fire on November 5. (file photo)

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said on November 6 that Russia-backed separatists have used heavy artillery in persistent cease-fire violations in the Donetsk region over the previous 24 hours. It said that two soldiers were wounded.

A ministry statement said the separatists violated the ceasefire 23 times, firing at areas near the towns of Avdiyivka and Opytne with rocket launchers, 82-millimeter mortars, and heavy machine guns.

Ukrainian positions near the towns of Pisky, Novotoshkivske, and Novooleksandrivka were targeted by mortar and artillery fire, the statement said.

It said the separatists also used antitank grenade launchers near the town of Vodyane.

There were no statements from the separatists on cease-fire violations.

Fighting between Kyiv's forces and the Russia-backed separatists who hold parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014.

Several cease-fire deals announced as part of the Minsk accords -- September 2014 and February 2015 pacts aimed to resolve the conflict -- have reduced fighting but not stopped it.

The latest cease-fire was agreed on August 22 in a phone call between the leaders of Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine.

Kurt Volker, the U.S. special envoy for efforts to end the conflict, is scheduled to meet with Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov next week.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on November 5 that he expects to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his 12-day trip to Asia.

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