July 5, 2015 / 10:52 AM / 4 years ago

Landmine kills five Ukrainian soldiers in separatist east

KIEV (Reuters) - Five Ukrainian servicemen were killed and three wounded by a landmine in the separatist Luhansk region, the Ukrainian military said on Sunday.

Fighting between government troops and pro-Russian rebels has lessened since the signing of a ceasefire deal in February, but both sides accuse the other of violations and casualties from landmine explosions or direct shelling are reported almost daily.

The latest landmine incident occurred in the village of Donetsky, around 50km (31 miles) west of separatist-controlled Luhansk city, Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksander Motuzyanyk said in a daily televised briefing.

“The situation in the conflict zone remains difficult. Rebels continue to carry out armed attacks, but their intensity is falling,” he said.

Motuzyanyk said that separatists had shelled government positions in villages north and northeast of Luhansk, using heavy weapons banned under the ceasefire deal.

Separatists accused the Ukrainian military of violating the ceasefire 32 times in the past 24 hours but reported no casualties, rebel press service DAN said.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by David Goodman

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