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Fresh fighting in east Ukraine kills four more soldiers, wounds eight

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Ukraine’s military says four soldiers have been killed and eight others injured in the fresh exchanges of fire with pro-Russia forces in the country’s eastern regions over the past 24 hours.

Ukraine’s military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, made the announcement during a news briefing in the capital, Kiev, on Friday.

Local authorities in the strife-torn region of Donetsk say two civilians have been killed and seven injured in the latest clashes around the city’s airport.

On January 7, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and one was wounded in clashes with pro-Russia forces in Donetsk.

Ukraine and the pro-Russia forces had agreed to stop fighting across the eastern conflict zone from December 9, 2014, under the terms of a ceasefire brokered by Moscow.

However, the truce agreement has been frequently violated with each side blaming the other for breaching the ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, are expected to discuss the crisis in a meeting to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on January 15.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Moscow protests in mid-April 2014.

According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 4,700 people have been killed in the fighting.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse Russia of having a hand in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine. Moscow categorically denies the allegation.

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