Four Ukrainian soldiers killed as fighting flares in separatist conflict

KIEV (Reuters) - Four Ukrainian servicemen were killed and two were wounded in attacks by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern conflict zone over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian military said on Friday.

A three-year-old peace agreement has failed to stop fighting in eastern Ukraine and each side accuses the other of violating the terms of the ceasefire on a near-daily basis.

Violence has escalated in recent days resulting in a higher-than-average casualty toll with a report on Thursday of three other Ukrainian servicemen killed.

“Fighting continued along the entire contact line,” the Ukrainian military said in a statement, referring to the front line, in which it announced the new casualties.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Russia-backed insurgency erupted in Ukraine’s industrialized east in 2014.

Under the 2015 Minsk peace agreement, all heavy weapons were meant to have been withdrawn, but ceasefire monitors regularly report violations of this and other terms of the deal on both sides of the front line.

Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Richard Balmforth