KYIV, UKRAINE - Five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the past 24 hours during fighting in the east of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday, its highest death toll since a fragile cease-fire with pro-Russian separatists began two months ago.
The guns have been mostly silent since early September, but there has been an increase in cease-fire violations over the past few weeks, with both sides blaming the other for the escalating violence.
"This is the highest death toll within the past two months. All losses are related to the combat clashes with sabotage groups," Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.
Another four soldiers were wounded, Lysenko added.
Separatist officials said on Saturday Ukrainian troops had fired tanks and mortars near Donetsk airport and city of Horlivka, rebel news agency DAN reported.
Under the cease-fire deal, both sides are meant to have withdrawn most weapons from the frontline as part of a 12-point peace plan designed to end a conflict that has killed over 8,000 people since April 2014.