A renewed wave of violence in the war-torn eastern territories of Ukraine has left three army soldiers dead، according to media reports.
Military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said Thursday that the three servicemen had been killed in areas near Donetsk، the main stronghold of pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.
“Unfortunately، there are losses among our troops again،” Motuzyanyk said
Army sources said pro-Russia forces had launched seven rounds of attacks with grenade، machine guns and mortars of various calibers over the past 24 hours، in what they said was an “aggravation” of the situation in the conflict zone. One soldier was killed in shelling near Novoluganske village، some 50 kilometers from Donetsk، the sources said، while the two others were killed when their vehicle hit an unidentified explosive device in the conflict zone.
Kiev has put the number of Ukrainian servicemen killed in 2017 at 190.
Meanwhile، sources close to pro-Russia militia forces said that two civilians had been wounded in shelling by the Ukrainian army in Donetsk region.
A deadly war has battered Ukraine’s industrial east over the past three years although there has been a relative calm in the area in the recent past.
The war broke out in Ukraine’s eastern territories following the change of government in Kiev in February 2014 and was escalated after people in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for unification with Russia in March 2014. The West brands the unification as annexation of the territory by Russia.
Kiev and its Western allies also accuse Russia of interfering militarily in the conflict in eastern Ukraine، an allegation Moscow denies vehemently.
More than 10،000 have been killed in the war so far.
In September 2014، the government in Kiev and the pro-Russia forces signed a ceasefire agreement in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk in a bid to halt the fighting in Ukraine’s eastern regions.
The warring sides also inked another truce deal، dubbed Minsk II، in February 2015 under the supervision of Russia، Germany، and France.
Since then، however، sporadic fighting has occurred، with the parties blaming each other for initiating the violations.