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Govt troops, rebels claims cease-fire violations

Associated Press logo Associated Press 24/12/2016

MOSCOW — Both the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed rebels in the east of the country said on Saturday a new cease-fire that was to come into effect midnight on Friday has been violated.

Separatist mouthpiece Donetsk News Agency on Saturday accused government troops of shelling rebel positions at least 140 times since the time both parties had agreed to cease fire.

The Ukrainian government initially reported no violations across the front line, but its operational headquarters later said the rebels opened fire four times at three different locations.

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded, said the government spokesman for the operation in the east, Andriy Lysenko, in a statement indicating that the rebels used heavy artillery. Eight government troops have died this week. The conflict that began in 2014 has so far claimed more than 9,600 lives.

This week's uptick in fighting had pushed the government and the separatists to agree on the cease-fire deal on Wednesday. The presidents of Ukraine, Russia and the rebels have voiced their commitment to the truce.

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