Fighting has again shaken a nearly three-month ceasefire deal between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, leaving five Ukrainian troops dead in a 24-hour period, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday.
Twelve other Ukrainian service members were injured in the fighting in separatist areas of eastern Ukraine, the country’s National Security and Defense Council said.
The violence happened despite a ceasefire that was agreed to in mid-February for Ukrainian forces and rebels who hold territory in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, near the border with Russia.
It’s an extension of a conflict that the United Nations says has killed more than 6,000 people since last year and forced 1.6 million people from their homes, including more than 600,000 who sought refuge in other countries.
Militants fired on Ukrainian forces more than 40 times Tuesday night in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, according to the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.
That included artillery, mortars, tanks and small arms fire on Ukrainian positions in the Donetsk region, Ukrinform reported.
The Ukrinform report did not detail what led to Tuesday’s fighting or how the Ukrainian forces responded.