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Ukraine soldier killed in clashes in rebel east

Kiev / AFP

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in clashes between pro-Russian rebels and government forces in the war-torn east, Ukraine’s military said Sunday.
Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said the situation along the frontline was “insecure”, accusing the rebels of violating a shaky truce agreement over the past 24 hours.
He said the soldier had died in a sniper attack on the government-held town of Marinka, a recent flashpoint located 20 kilometres (12 miles) southwest of the rebels’ de facto capital Donetsk.
On Saturday Kiev and the separatists exchanged nine prisoners in the first such swap this year with the rebels handing over three Ukrainian soldiers and the Ukrainian forces giving up six captives including an Orthodox monk.
Motuzyanyk announced Sunday that a fourth Ukrainian soldier had been released the previous day, without giving any details of the operation.
More than 9,000 people have been killed and some 20,000 injured since the uprising against Ukraine’s new pro-Western leadership erupted in April 2014, according to the United Nations.
Kiev and the West accuse Russia of supporting the insurgents and sending regular troops across the border, claims that Moscow denies.

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