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Five Ukrainian soldiers killed in pro-Russian attacks

Five government soldiers have been killed in eastern parts of war-torn Ukraine over the past day. Concern is growing that the situation in the country is getting worse.

The ceasefire in the Ukraine has cracked further, as five soldiers were reported killed and at least several others wounded by pro-Russian separatists over the course of 24 hours on Sunday.

The report marks the second deadliest day for Ukrainian servicemen so far this year, after seven Ukrainian soldiers were reported killed last Tuesday.

According to military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, the government-controlled town of Avdiyivka, north of rebel-held Donetsk city, is one of the main hotspots for recent violence.

No end in sight to fighting

The conflict began in the winter of 2014 following the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the subsequent annexation of Crimea. A ceasefire was signed in February 2015, but continued violence between government and separatist forces has spurred the war.

Last week, captured Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko was released by Moscow as a part of a prisoner swap with Kyiv. Some observers hoped the release of Savchenko - who'd become a symbol of Russian oppression of Ukraine for many - would help quell the violence.

Russia has repeatedly denied supplying separatists with weapons and equipment, despite Western accusations to the contrary.

blc/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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