Two Ukrainian troops, one civilian killed in rebel east: military
Two Ukrainian soldiers and a civilian have been killed in eastern Ukraine amid deadlocked international efforts to halt the violence, the military said Thursday.
"As a result of hostilities, over the past 24 hours two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and two more wounded", Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told journalists.
He said they died in "criminal" rebel sniper fire, adding that the first soldier had been shot dead in the Donetsk region and the second in the Lugansk region.
One civilian was also killed and another injured in the village of Pavlopil some 70 kilometers south of the rebels' de facto capital Donetsk, when their tractor hit a landmine.
"This is the fifth incident since the beginning of 2016", Motuzyanyk said, referring to a mine explosion hitting a civilian vehicle.
Last week, France and Germany held a round of talks with Ukraine and Russia in Berlin as part of efforts to try to seek a lasting peace deal but no consensus was reached over elections in the separatist regions.
Around 9,300 people have died and more than 21,000 injured since the mainly Russian-speaking regions revolted against Ukraine's new pro-Western government in April 2014.
Kiev and the West have accused Russia of buttressing the rebels and sending in regular troops across the border, claims Moscow has repeatedly denied.
A series of truce agreements have helped reduce the violence, although sporadic clashes continue and prevent the sides from reaching a firm political reconciliation deal.